Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has offered his support to Antoine Griezmann ahead of his expected arrival from Atletico Madrid, as Barça continue their search for another striker to play back up to Luis Suarez.
After being snubbed by Griezmann last summer thanks to the infamous ‘La Decision’ video, La Blaugrana are expected to finally sign the Frenchman when his release clause comes into play on July 1, but until then they are seeking further striking reinforcements to alleviate the strain on Suarez.
According to ?Mundo Deportivo, the list of players they are currently looking at includes Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente, Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder, Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez and Girona’s Cristhian Stuani.
Llorente’s contract is up at the end of this month, and the La Liga champions have been impressed by his showings in the ?Champions League this season. Ben Yedder and Gomez are at the higher end of the price range, with the pair currently holding €40m and €50m release clauses in their contracts after excellent goalscoring seasons.
Though not strictly a striker, Sevilla’s Pablo Sarabia has also been mooted, following his impressive goals haul this season. Stuani rounds up the group, and though he may be the most surprising, he could also be the most likely, with his wages set to be cut in half after the Catalan club’s relegation from the top tier.
Indeed, as a Uruguayan international, the former Middlesbrough striker is a known friend of Suarez, and was even considered as a replacement for Munir when the youngster left last season.
There has been some speculation that ?Bar?ça’s players are none too keen on the idea of Griezmann joining the club, but speaking to Mundo Deportivo, as relayed by ?Marca, Rakitic dismissed these concerns, declaring: “I would love to have Griezmann on my team.”
The Croatian then joked: “Aside from the fact that last year he pushed me away from my dream of winning the World Cup, I really like him. He’s a top level player, one of the best in the world. He’s won almost everything and can add to any team.”
Speaking on the controversy surrounding ‘La Decision’, Rakitic explained: “That wasn’t a decision against Barcelona or anyone. It was taken in favour of Atletico Madrid. I congratulate him for that and if he comes here I’ll shake his hand and tell him that I respect him for the decision.”
The 31-year-old also took time to reaffirm his support for under-fire boss Ernesto Valverde, proclaiming: “Valverde is the perfect coach for us. The work he and his coaching staff do is fantastic.”