Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona have reportedly agreed a deal for the permanent transfer of Antoine Griezmann to the club based in the Spanish capital, bringing an end to one of the strangest loan deals in football history.
Speaking to the media ahead of their UEFA Champions League loss to Club Brugge on Tuesday, Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo revealed that the Club were ‘always negotiating’ in response to questions about Griezmann’s playing time.
“Regarding Griezmann, life goes on the same. Let’s hope he plays after 60′. In the world of football, negotiations are always taking place,” said Cerezo.
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It seems that the statement was accurate, as reports emanating from Spain suggest a deal has been agreed for the permanent return of the Frenchman to the Wanda Metropolitano.
The deal is worth a reported €20million plus add-ons to be paid at the end of the current campaign. Furthermore, Griezmann will have to take a pay-cut of around a quarter of his salary to complete his permanent move to Atletico in order for the Club to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
Griezmann initially made the move to Barcelona in 2019 after the Blaugrana activated his release clause of €120million. The Frenchman had a disappointing time with the Catalans , scoring 35 goals and providing 17 assists in 102 appearances.
He returned to Atletico in 2021 on an initial two-year loan deal with an option to buy for a reported €40million. The option would become an obligation to buy if Griezmann played at least 45 minutes in half of Atletico’s games, which is why manager Diego Simeone would limit the World Cup winner’s game time, often only bringing him on after the 60th minute.
The agreement of a permanent deal between the two clubs should come as a relief to Griezmann as it marks the end of a truly strange loan spell. Furthermore, it will undoubtedly result in more game time for the forward, something he is desperate for heading into the World Cup in November.