Diego Simeone is not worried about fresh reports linking Antoine Griezmann with Barcelona, insisting he does not think the Atletico Madrid star has even read the rumours.
The France international has regularly been linked with a move to Camp Nou at the end of the season, having rejected the chance to leave the club in 2017 while they were under a transfer embargo.
Catalan newspaper Sport has claimed Barca’s senior players have given their backing to the signing of the 26-year-old, who is reportedly ready to become part of a ‘fantastic five’ under Ernesto Valverde, alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
The publication even included a mock-up of Griezmann wearing a Barca shirt, but Simeone sees no reason why such stories should distract the forward ahead of Wednesday’s home LaLiga clash with Leganes.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think Griezmann even reads the press,” he told a news conference. “We’re thinking only about [Wednesday] and the difficulties he is going to face against Leganes.
“Away from home, Leganes close up well at the back, they make the most of the dead-ball moves they get, they work well using spaces they create – all of that concerns me.
“In terms of our game, we have been consistent in our last three matches but, to maintain that, we need intensity and to know in which direction this team is heading. We are playing with a very determined style and once we get close to maximizing individual potential, collectively we will be stronger as a team.”
Atletico saw Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan complete moves to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang this week, while Augusto Fernandez signed for Beijing Renhe last month.
However, Simeone is not worried about his squad being light on numbers as they battle for LaLiga and Europa League glory in the final few months of the season.
“First of all, I wish both of them the best of luck, they always gave everything they had for the team and the group; I thank them for the effort they made,” he said of Carrasco and Gaitan.
“As for where that leaves us, the team’s fine, it’s a reduced squad but a very competitive one. That will give us the chance to give everyone playing time and we will try to dish it out as equally as we can.”
Simeone also expects Fernando Torres to play an important role before the end of 2017-18, when it is expected he will leave the club.
“I’m hoping that he will give the best he has got from now until the end of the season. Knowing Fernando, I couldn’t envisage any other situation,” he added.