After a drawn out process, Antoine Griezmann has officially joined Barcelona. It brings to an end a long transfer saga, in which there had been doubts that the deal would ever be completed.
The Frenchman made his wishes to leave Atletico public at the end of the season, and Barcelona were expected to be his destination. With the player having a €120million release clause, the club were powerless to stop the transfer.
There have been simmering tensions between the two Spanish sides ever since Griezmann's announcement. While the deal is now completed, it appears those feelings have not subsided.
Atletico Madrid are now threatening legal action against Barcelona, who they believe should have to fork another €80million for the player.
Griezmann's release clause was lowered to €120million on July 1st, having previously been set at €200million. It is the Madrid club's claim that Barcelona had agreed their deal with the player prior to this date, and thus should be forced to pay the higher amount.
They released an official statement this afternoon:
The amount deposited is insufficient to pay his release clause because it is obvious that the agreement between the club and Barcelona was done before his fee dropped from €200 to €120 million.
Atlético Madrid understand that the contract was broken before the end of last season, on the basis of the facts, actions and statements of the player and the club has therefore started the proceedings it considers opportune to defend its legitimate rights and interests.
Atleti are disgusted by the behaviour of Barcelona and the player and particularly Barcelona, for inducing a player to break their contractual relationship with Atlético Madrid at a time in the season when the club was playing, not just a Champions League tie against Juventus, but also the League title against Barcelona itself.
This definitely sounds like sour grapes from Atletico. Backdoor dealings occur all the time in football, and it is certainly not unusual for a player to agree a contract with another club before a fee has even been agreed.
This seems to be what happened here, with the only difference being the release clause. If Barcelona could save themselves €80million, there's no way they were going to complete the deal before July 1st.