Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirms deal to sell star forward

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed an agreement for Antoine Griezmann with Atletico Madrid for a fee lower than what was mentioned in his contract, as per Fabrizio Romano.

The France international joined Los Colchoneros in the summer of 2021 on a two-year loan deal. Atletico were obligated to buy the former Real Sociedad winger in the summer of 2023 for €40 million if he played more than 45 minutes in half of his team’s matches this season.

This is why manager Diego Simeone has been exploiting the trick of bringing Griezmann on as a substitute around the 60th-minute mark. In his 11 appearances in all competitions this season, Griezmann has played more than 30 minutes on just three occasions.

Domestically, he played the full 90 minutes in Atletico’s 2-0 derby loss against Real Madrid on 18 September and 65 minutes in the 2-1 win against Girona on Saturday (8 October).

Griezmann also started and finished off the 2-0 UEFA Champions League loss against Club Brugge on Tuesday (4 October). Two of those three instances have come in the past week, indicating that Atletico have possibly been assured by Barca of a compromise.

Laporta has confirmed that the Catalan giants will receive a fee of €20 million up front and €4 million in add-ons. Barcelona will also pocket the difference if the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner is sold for up to €40 million by Atletico.

The president, as quoted by Romano, confirmed:

“It’s done and it’s a good deal. We’ll receive €20 m fixed and €4 m in add ons, plus the difference if Atletico sell him for up to €40 m. If Griezmann came back, we had to pay his €36m salary and it’d have been a drama.”

Antoine Griezmann joining Atletico Madrid from Barcelona is a good deal for both parties

Griezmann spent five years with Atletico before leaving for Barcelona in the summer of 2019. He made himself the player that he is today under the guidance of Diego Simeone.

The Argentine tactician seems to trust him in important games, and at 31, the Frenchman still has a lot left to offer. As Laporta mentioned in his comments, Griezmann’s salary would have been too much for Barcelona to accommodate.

Barca already have a bloated wage bill and are eager to offload Frenkie de Jong to defray some of the costs incurred in the summer transfer window. Amid this, Griezmann would have been, frankly put, a burden for manager Xavi Hernandez.

The Spaniard has found his preferred front three in Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele. It is unlikely that Griezmann, who has scored three goals and assisted twice this season, would have found a spot in Barcelona’s attack.

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