Diego Simeone insists Atletico Madrid will not look to replace Antoine Griezmann this summer amid speculation they have identified Alexandre Lacazette as a primary transfer target.
Griezmann was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona last summer before eventually deciding to stay at Atletico, signing a new five-year contract with the club.
But the 28-year-old confirmed his intention to seek a new challenge earlier this week following a meeting with his manager during which he reportedly articulated that his cycle at the club had come to an end after scoring 133 goals in 252 appearances.
Atletico, who are also fending off interest in the likes of Saul Niguez and Rodri, have historically coped well with big-name departures having been forced to replace the likes of Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao and Simeone believes there is little need to alter the club’s transfer policy in light of Griezmann’s impending departure.
‘We’re not looking for a star to replace Griezmann, we aren’t that club,’ he said at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
‘Instead we will search for someone like we did with Griezmann when he came from Real Sociedad.
‘We had Torres, Forlan, Agüero, Falcao, Mandzukic, Griezmann… and we always competed in the same way, because this club’s structure and strength isn’t like it used to be. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen that the club is more important than any one of us.’
Lacazette, meanwhile, has also been linked with a potential move to Barcelona off the back of an impressive second season with Arsenal who face Chelsea in the Europa League final later this month.
Griezmann’s French international teammate came close to joining Atletico in the summer of 2017 before the club were handed a transfer ban by UEFA which allowed Arsenal to steal in and clinch his signing unopposed.