French superstar Antoine Griezmann has officially joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid after the Catalan club reportedly paid his €120 million release clause, which equates to just under $135 million. The club, which made the announcement on Friday, said the 28-year-old will sign a contract for the next five seasons through June 2024, and his contract will have a buyout of €800 million, which is nearly $900 million, making him pretty much untouchable.
Griezmann’s release clause dropped from $224 million to $134 million on July 1, which played a role in Barcelona waiting to get this deal done in order to save some money. The addition of Griezmann means Barcelona will now have an attacking triad that features the French playmaker, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. It remains to be seen if cast-offs like Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele will remain in the fold as the club searches for more firepower in order to conquer the Champions League for the first time since 2015. The club has been linked to a reunion with Neymar out of Paris Saint-Germain. For what it’s worth, it’s being reported by Spanish outlets that Griezmann would likely wear No. 7, the number that is currently occupied by Coutinho.
Atletico Madrid released a statement shortly after Barcelona’s announcement contesting the amount paid in the buyout clause and is asking for more compensation. The club says he amount deposited is insufficient because it isn’t the amount that the clause was when Barca and Griezmann agreed to deal, adding that it also came before the clause was modified on May 14:
Antoine Griezmann, represented by his lawyer, has appeared at the headquarters of the Professional Football League to unilaterally terminate the contract that links the player with Atlético de Madrid, with Fútbol Club Barcelona having deposited the sum of 120 million euros in the name and on behalf of the footballer.
Atlético de Madrid considers that the deposited amount is insufficient to cover his buyout clause, since it is obvious that the agreement between the player and FC Barcelona was closed before the clause was reduced from EUR 200 million to EUR 120 million. It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified the communication that the player made on 14 May announcing his disassociation from the club.
Atlético de Madrid believes that the termination of the contract happened before the end of the last season due to facts, acts and demonstrations made by the player, and therefore has already initiated the procedures it has deemed appropriate to protect their rights and lawful interests.
Griezmann announced at the end of this past season that he was leaving Atletico after joining in 2014. The Real Sociedad youth product scored 133 goals in 157 games for Atleti, while also winning the 2018 World Cup with France. He is the third summer signing Barcelona has made before next season, joining Frenkie de Jong and Neto on the roster.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will have their first meeting in La Liga on the weekend of Dec. 1.
Barcelona will begin its summer tour on July 23 with five games in three different continents in a span of 19 days where it will play Chelsea, Vissel Kobe, Arsenal and Napoli twice. It remains to be seen if and when Griezmann will be cleared to make his debut for the Blaugrana.