Barcelona have reportedly been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann after Atletico Madrid assured the striker that they were willing to match any offer the La Liga leaders tabled.
The France international has long been tipped to leave Atletico with Barcelona said to be the front runners after Ernesto Valverde singled out the 26-year-old as the man to offer stern competition to the ageing Luis Suarez.
Barcelona were reportedly prepared to make a move for the striker - who has scored 20 goals this season - in January but as speculation reached fever pitch the club was forced to release a statement insisting that they would not table a bid for Griezmann after Atletico reported the club to UEFA.
With the summer transfer window nearing, Spanish journalist Pipi Estrada told El Chiringuito TV that Atletico's chief executive, Miguel Angel Gil Marin has revealed that the club have informed the striker that they will match any pay packet Barcelona offer in a bid to keep him at the Wanda Metropolitano for season 2018/19 and beyond.
Estrada said: "Gil Marin has told Griezmann that they can offer him the same as Barca and has given him a rush.
“Griezmann has had a meeting with Gil Martin in which the conditions were laid out.”
The 26-year-old is said to be settled at Atletico with his family and the club will be hoping their tactic pays off and forces Barcelona to look elsewhere for a new attacking option in the summer.