Goal’s Rubén Uría and FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta divulged several key details and provisions included in Antoine Griezmann’s deadline day transfer back to Atlético Madrid.
Uría reported that Griezmann has accepted a 40 percent pay cut to make the move work for Atlético — which had already cleared more than €20 million from the wage bill after Vitolo, Diego Costa, and Saúl Ñíguez all left the club in the past eight months. This places the Frenchman’s salary in roughly the same bracket as Koke, Jan Oblak, and Luis Suárez — his previous Atleti contract called for a €23 million annual salary, which shattered the squad’s wage bill and prompted the exhaustive summer 2019 rebuild.
Further, Atlético are not paying Barcelona a loan fee despite initial reports indicating that €10 million would be changing hands between the clubs. And Atleti’s reported €40 million obligation to buy Griezmann is, for now, still an option. Uría explained that this obligation will be triggered during the 2022/23 season if the forward plays more than half Atleti’s games.
Barcelona president Laporta confirmed this in an interview Tuesday night — and he all but admitted Griezmann wouldn’t be coming back to Camp Nou, either.
“I think that everyone was expecting more from him, because he gave everything and didn’t have a questionable attitude,” Laporta explained to Catalan television channel Onze. “We know what kind of player he was and is, he’s a great player.
“I think he didn’t fit in our system, but I think he showed a very good attitude. I sent him a message wishing him well, because he’s always had the correct attitude. In footballing terms he wasn’t the player we needed.”
Laporta’s not entirely wrong — Griezmann had a good 2020/21 season and was especially good during Barça’s successful Copa del Rey campaign. But from the blaugrana’s point of view, what appear to be Griezmann’s final statistics — 102 appearances, 35 goals, and 16 assists in all competitions — do not remotely justify the €120 million that the previous board paid for him.
Of course, from Atlético’s vantage point, that €120 million basically paid for João Félix, who could feasibly partner Griezmann in attack this weekend when the champs visit Espanyol. Félix is training fully this week after missing the season’s first three games due to offseason ankle surgery.
Meanwhile, Griezmann is expected to return from France duty Wednesday and be formally re-introduced then.