A signing that’s been two years in the making, Antoine Griezmann is, at last, a Barcelona player. The Spanish champions have announced on their website that:
FC Barcelona has paid the 120 million euro buyout clause to release Antoine Griezmann from Atlético Madrid.
The player will sign a contract with his new club for the next five seasons, through to 30 June 2024, with a buyout clause of 800 million euros.
But reports out of Spain say that Atletico is refusing to end Griezmann’s contract. They argue that the transfer was clearly agreed when the fee was €200 million. Griezmann’s contract clause was €200 million before the 1st of July, when it got reduced to €120 million.
The Griezmann to Barcelona Timeline
By October 2017, Barcelona were already plotting their move for Griezmann for the summer of 2018. Everyone at the Catalan club knew he was being lined up, including the key members of Ernesto Valverde’s squad.
“He’s not coming to take the place of anyone,” Luis Suarez said, slightly rattled by the prospect of Griezmann arriving to replace him in the team.”It’s obvious that I like Griezmann,” said Lionel Messi.
Everything pointed to Griezmann wearing blue and garnet but, in a dramatic U-turn, he turned down the chance to move to the Camp Nou during a controversial documentary.
After a fairly disappointing campaign with Atletico, Griezmann decided that he wanted to leave. On June 12, Los Rojiblancos’ CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin admitted that the Frenchman would be joining Barcelona.
Via another video, Griezmann revealed that he’d be leaving Atletico during the summer on May 14, but he didn’t say where he’d be going.
He revealed that he’d know his next destination by the start of July, which is when his release clause dropped from 200 million euros to 120m euros, but Barcelona first looked to negotiate with Atletico, though to little effect.
Atletico asked for Nelson Semedo during the discussions and this was swiftly rejected. Then, Barca asked to pay in installments to the ire of Atletico, who released a statement criticizing Barcelona and Griezmann.
The Catalans therefore realized that the only way to sign the forward is to pay his release clause.Now, though, two years after first contacting him, the Griezmann soap opera is over.