Barcelona are ‘preparing legal action’ against Atletico Madrid after a disagreement between the two clubs on the terms of Antoine Griezmann loan deal.
Griezmann has only featured from the 60th minute onwards this season and it’s thought Atletico boss Diego Simeone is starting him from the bench to avoid triggering the player’s €40million (£35m) transfer clause. Yet Barcelona’s version of events is different.
Speaking on Friday afternoon, Barcelona manager Xavi insisted Griezmann was no longer a Barcelona player. According to Mundo Deportivo, he said: “Griezmann? It’s a club issue, it’s none of my business. There’s no debate, we think he’s an Atletico player.”
The details of Antoine Griezmann loan move from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann, 31, re-joined Atletico from Barcelona on a two-year deal with a mandatory purchase clause worth €40 million inserted, if he plays a certain number of minutes.
Atletico Madrid believe that the mandatory purchase clause would be activated only if Griezmann plays at least 45 minutes in 50% of the matches he is available across the two seasons.
🚨🎖| Barcelona doesn’t want Griezmann back. The two clubs met several times and Atleti tried to lower Griezmann’s purchase obligation. Diego Simeone believes the player can be important but they don’t want to pay €40M. [@moillorens & @samuelmarsden] #fcblive pic.twitter.com/QMnZfVCtlP
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) September 9, 2022
So, while the condition was met for the last season, they have been regulating his game-time this term so that they can avoid paying the €40 million fee.
However, Barcelona are arguing that the conditions have already been meet and find it irrelevant whether Griezmann start playing from 60th minutes because he played more than 50 per cent of matches last season. The forward played around 80 per cent of Atletico’s games during the 2021/22 campaign.
🚨 More: Sources within Barça say the agreement was over a 1 + 1 deal. If Griezmann played 50% of the games in the 1st year, Atleti would be obliged to pay €40M & get him permanently. If not, the loan would automatically be renewed for a 2nd season. @SiqueRodriguez #Transfers 💰
— Reshad Rahman (@ReshadRahman_) September 8, 2022
Barcelona are confident that they are in the right on this matter and are demanding a full €40 million payment as the second loan season would not be considered in calculations because it was only a mere extension that was agreed upon.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are also firm on their stance that the clause would only kick in after the second year on loan. And they believe that they are not committing any legal violations.
Simeone, when quizzed on the situation last week, said: “You have known me for ten years now; I am a man of the club and I always will be… You have to try make them understand that playing 30 minutes well is more important than playing 60 minutes.”
Whilst the two clubs battle it out over the ingredients of the loan deal, the player is the one who has been left at disadvantage. Even though, he has been performing well when called upon this season, he has no prospects of starting a game at the moment.
Griezmann accepts his role.
“..Playing 30 minutes well is more important than playing 60 badly,”
Despite being a World Cup year, Griezmann has accepted his role and is making the most of his minutes as an impact substitute but hopes the situation is solved soon enough.
Griezmann on his his lack of game time: “It’s clear that I would like to play more, but I have to do the maximum in the minutes that I am given.”
The forward has scored three goals in five substitute appearances including a stoppage-time winner against Porto when the sides met in this past week’s Champions League group games.
Atletico Madrid welcome Celta Vigo to Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night.