Who is at fault in the Atletico-Barca-Griezmann mess?

Antoine Griezmann recently moved to FC Barcelona in a 120 million euro transfer, one year after he rejected the Catalan club. Much drama has unfolded before that transfer with Griezmann releasing his documentary “La Decision” to announce his intentions in 2018. Post transfer, the drama has intensified, with Atletico accusing Barcelona of wrongdoing.

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Griezmann’s release clause was set to 200 million euros when he signed a lucrative, long term contract with Atletico. That was right after he rejected Barcelona. The contract stipulated the clause would go down to 120 million on July 1st 2019, which is why Barcelona waited to sign the player.

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Griezmann finally got his tranfer to Barcelona this year.

Atletico’s claim resides in the fact that Barcelona contacted the player well before the transfer, potentially unsettling Atletico’s star player in the middle of the 2018-2019 season when Atletico were competing against Barcelona in La Liga. The approach, claimed to be around March, was also at a critical time for Diego Simeone’s team were involved in the Champions League knockout stages.

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Consequentially, Atletico feel they should receive the release clause’s value as at March, which is 80 million euros more than what Barcelona payed.

You can understand where Atletico are coming from. If the move was agreed between Griezmann’s camp and Barcelona before July 1st, they should pay the 200 million. It’s now up to La Liga to weigh in on Atletico’s request to nullify the transfer if Barcelona do not pay the full amount.

antoine-griezmann-france-croatia-world-cup-2018_l17qwd22veah16zwcxhg2e5rz
Antoine Griezmann won the World Cup in 2018, followed by an underwhelming season with Atletico.

Griezmann’s indecision has played a part in the drama we have witnessed but Simeone thinks the World Cup winner gave his all for the club and should not be blamed. I tend to agree. At a time when Atletico were hit with a transfer ban and offers were flooding for the player, he decided to stay, saying departing in those circumstances would be highly inappropriate.

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After that, Barcelona came after him again and again. Not many players can say no to a club of Barcelona’s stature and Griezmann was growing weary of losing titles to better teams. So he left.

In my opinion, the real culprit here is the Barcelona board.

The Blaugrana pursued a player from their main domestic rivals in the middle of the season when the league was not yet won. On top of that, they then agreed a deal with the player without the club’s consent but waited until July to announce it to prevent Atletico from rightfully getting paid an extra 80 million euros.

80 million euros is not a trivial amount of money.

I sincerely hope that La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation will step in and bring Barcelona to order. Just because they are a top club does not mean they can use such tactics to destabilize and short-change rival teams.

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