On Thursday, Barcelona announced that they had paid the £108m release clause in the contract of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman is expected to sign a five-year deal with the Blaugrana. The deal has caused uproar in a certain section of the Spanish capital, though, as Atletico claim that Barcelona agreed the deal with the forward when his release clause was €200m.
Atletico not happy
Atletico voiced their unhappiness in a statement that read: “Atlético de Madrid believes that the amount deposited is insufficient to meet [Griezmann’s] buy-out clause, since it is obvious that the player committed to FC Barcelona before the aforementioned clause was reduced from 200 to 120 million euros,” the club said in a statement.
“Atlético de Madrid believes that the termination of the contract occurred before the end of last season due to events, acts and demonstrations carried out by the player and that is why the club has already started the procedures it considers appropriate for the defence of its legitimate rights and interests.”
The above statement means that this whole situation could get very messy and could become a drawn-out saga in the coming months.
Griezmann has been a long-term Barcelona target
Atletico may claim that the Catalan giants had agreed terms with the Catalan giants before the clause was met. However, in truth, the forward has been a long-term Barcelona target. Even last summer Griezmann looked set for a move to Barcelona. Instead he commit his future to Atletico by signing a new deal. The deal included the talked about clauses.
Those clauses were obviously insisted upon by Griezmann and his representatives, in case he changed his mind this summer, which he has. The question of when the forward discussed terms with the Spanish champions is a big one.
From media reports, as previously mentioned Griezmann was very close to leaving Atletico last summer. He rejected a move to Barcelona, so did they get to the point of discussing contracts last summer? It is unknown as if they did, I doubt the numbers will have changed. Atletico will also have known that the two parties were negotiating.
This could get very messy for the Spanish champions, as they obviously have to balance the books. Another £70-odd million could make a big difference to their transfer dealings this summer.
The Catalan giants are reportedly interested in bringing former star Neymar back to the club. However, his current club PSG obviously want to recoup most of the reported 200million euros they paid to sign him from Barcelona. Any extra fee would certain make any deal for the Brazilian less likely.
Barcelona aiming for the Champions League
Whatever happens with the transfer fee, Antoine Griezmann will be playing for Barcelona next season. The 28-year-old may well have regretted at staying with Atletico for that extra season, especially if the talk over his contract becomes long-winded. However, the Frenchman will no doubt be focussing on doing his best for the Blaugrana next season. Their main objective next season will be to win the Champions League.
Barcelona are currently favourites to win Europe’s elite competition. The signing of Griezmann will certainly not hamper their chances of winning Europe’s elite competition that is for sure. Taking away the messiness of the deal, the Frenchman should be a very good signing for the men from Catalonia.
Will Antoine Griezmann be a good signing for Barcelona?