Barcelona have officially announced the €120m signing of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann on a five-year contract. However, the La Liga champions have been accused of paying €80m less than the agreed fee.
Atletico Madrid have insisted that an agreement between the two clubs took place before July 1, when Antoine Griezmann’s release clause was €200m. As a result, Barcelona owe them €80m to legally ratify the transfer.
The French striker did not report at Atletico’s preseason training, with his heart set on a switch to the Camp Nou. Los Rojiblancos, as a result, opened disciplinary proceedings against Griezmann as he was bound to a contract with the club till 2023, even though he publicly announced his departure from the club at the end of last season.
The 28-year old played over 250 games for Atletico Madrid scoring 133 goals, winning the Copa Del Rey and the Europa League during his five seasons at the club. However, his Champions League ambition as well as the dream to play alongside Lionel Messi were the key reasons to move out of the Wanda Metropolitano.
The relationship between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid due to Griezmann’s full-blown transfer saga has surely been damaged.
A statement from Atletico, shortly after Barcelona’s official transfer announcement for Antoine Griezmann, read: “The amount deposited is insufficient to meet his release clause, since it is obvious that the agreement of the player and Barcelona was closed before the aforementioned clause was reduced from 200 million euros to 120 million euros.
“It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified that the player made the communication, on May 14, that he will leave the club.
“Atletico Madrid believes 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 it [the club] has already started procedures it considers appropriate for the defence of its rights and legitimate interests.”
Barcelona have already signed hugely-talented midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, and with the addition of Antoine Griezmann, the Blaugrana will be a formidable side in Europe next season. The World Cup winner will be officially presneted to the Barcelona fans on Sunday, after which he will join Ernesto Valverde’s preseason training.