In a wild night for three major clubs in Europe, Atletico and Barcelona completed a three-way deal in which Chelsea and Sevilla were involved.
Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona nearly didn’t complete the most sensational transfer deal of last night’s deadline. There were early reports from L’Equipe of Antoine Griezmann trying everything to leave the Catalan club. His apparent destination was Atletico Madrid, the only club he wanted at this point. But his return was directly linked to Saul Ñiguez’s exit to Chelsea, another deal that wasn’t easy to complete. Given that Barcelona was getting rid of the biggest salary within the club and an offensive player.
Ronald Koeman decided to pursue another Dutch player for his roster: Sevilla FC’s Luuk de Jong. All three signings were loan deals but one was more difficult than the other. Marina Granovskaia was refusing to agree on a fee directed at one of Saul’s family members at 23:00. That was the time when the entire negotiation was apparently blocked. Matheu Alemany couldn’t believe what was happening, everything crumbled apart when the agreements were made on all three sides.
Why is Barcelona getting rid of Griezmann?
In the end, the paperwork of all three players arrived before midnight and La Liga accepted all of them before checking for any irregularities. As soon as each of them was approved, the clubs announced all their arrivals. Chelsea was the first, Atletico second, and FC Barcelona came in third. Apart from the obvious dismal level of performance over the last couple of years, there is a main reason Barcelona decided to offload Griezmann. It’s basically the same reason they weren’t able to sign Leo Messi back after he finished his contract.
Within the salary cap inside the club, Griezmann is at the top with €25 million per season after tax. Getting rid of the French striker means they won’t have to pay €50 million per season before tax for a single player. This will definitely help FC Barcelona’s finances with their sights set on next summer’s chances to sign Erling Haaland. Griezmann will play for Atletico Madrid as the second player who comes from the Catalan club in the second consecutive season. With his imminent arrival, we can already consider Atletico one of the top title contenders.