La Liga champions Barcelona have reportedly told Atletico Madrid that they will be triggering Antoine Griezmann's release clause, amid constant speculation that the Frenchman could leave Wanda Metropolitano this summer.
According to Helena Condis (H/t Cope), the Europa League finalists are fully aware that the player will leave this summer, with Barca informing them of their plans to pay the €100m release clause in his contract.
The player had previously stated that he was hoping to have his future sorted out before the start of the World Cup in Russia. And the parties involved in the negotiations over the upcoming transfer are aiming to have things wrapped up by then.
Helena Condis also reports that the club will hand the Frenchman the No.7 jersey at the club, while the current members of the Barca squad are said to be awaiting his arrival.
Ernesto Valverde, however, has called for the club to exercise caution when referring to Griezmann and a future move as he wants to remain respectful to Atletico.
“Griezmann is a great player, there is no doubt about that, but we have to be careful and respectful when we’re talking about players that don’t play for us," he told reporters, via Sport.
“In this case, we have to respect Atletico. We all know how good [Griezmann] is as a player. In the future we will see [about anything else].”
The manager was also asked about the France international joining Atletico president Enrique Cerezo for lunch on Tuesday - with the meeting being perceived as one in which the player's future was discussed - but he brushed it off.
"I don't know what relevance them eating together has," he said. "[Cerezo] is the president of the club he plays for."