Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has told Antoine Griezmann that he is “free to leave” for Manchester United if he wasn’t fully committed to the cause under Diego Simeone.
The Frenchman was on the verge of joining Man United last summer but decided to remain loyal to the cause at Atletico after the club’s transfer ban was upheld.
But he has continued to attract attention from other clubs after his release clause was halved to around £85m.
And Koke, speaking on the subject of Griezmann, made it clear that his teammate could leave if he wasn’t completely committed to the cause.
“Talking about Griezmann, he had the chance to leave after the last season, but he didn’t. So I think that means he likes it here,” he said.
“We always say if somebody doesn’t like it here, he’s free to leave. The club and I want the best, we want committed players.
“Those who aren’t [committed], just have to ask for a transfer. We only want players who are 100 percent focused here.
“[Griezmann] does look committed to Atletico. In the last month, the reality is that we haven’t been any good and little by little we will improve.”
Just to be absolutely clear: anybody who says their chances of joining United were ‘six out of ten, actively seeks a move away, and then later admits he only stayed at Atletico because of a court ruling that would preclude his manager from being able to replace him is not by any means 100 per cent committed to his current cause.
And you sense that, regardless of what club president Enrique Cerezo says, this story will not go away any time soon.
Reports have already claimed that some inside the club are frustrated with Griezmann’s performances and overall demeanour, and as the season rumbles on, with Diego Costa entering the fold in January, things could change quite quickly for the Frenchman.