Ernesto Valverde hints at preference for €120m Barcelona target after key meeting

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Barcelona have been heavily linked with a marquee signing this summer, and it’s claimed that Ernesto Valverde prefers Antoine Griezmann over Neymar.

The Catalan giants successfully defended their La Liga crown last season, but the manner in which they crashed out of the Champions League and their defeat in the Copa del Rey final were two major red marks against the campaign.

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With that in mind, a response is expected in the transfer market this summer, and it could start with a marquee signing to bolster Valverde’s attack.

According to Mundo Deportivo though, the Spanish tactician has ‘blessed’ the signing of Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, with the 28-year-old set to see his release clause drop to €120m on July 1.

It’s added that during a meeting between Valverde and Barcelona officials, he didn’t mention Neymar as a priority target, and so it would appear as though the reigning La Liga champions may look to raid their direct rivals this summer rather than seek a reunion with their former Brazilian superstar.

However, that goes against reports earlier this week which suggested that Neymar has even agreed on personal terms with Barca, as per Sport, and so it sets up an intriguing summer to see how they strengthen their attacking options.

Both players bring star power off the pitch while they both enjoyed productive seasons last year with Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.

Naturally, they offer different characteristics and qualities with Neymar perhaps likely to reclaim his role on the left wing in an attacking trident alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, while Griezmann would look to play a more central role or be pushed out wide himself.

Given the figures involved, it’s a decision that Barcelona can’t afford to get wrong and so time will tell if Valverde believes that Griezmann is the ideal signing. Further, depending on player sales and how much is available to spend this summer, Barca may even hold hope of signing both players, as hinted at by Sport.

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