There are strategic signings, incorporations of club, none so surely capital in the last times for the Barça like the one of Frenkie de Jong, a soccer player who must put together the game independently of the coach and the age of Leo Messi. And then there are contracts that the technicians consider necessary for the team, above the likes of the players, even the 10, few as those of Antoine Griezmann (Mâcon, 28 years old).
The Barça club announced Friday the signing of the French international forward from Atlético. The interest of Barcelona for Griezmann has been so evident for two years that it did not get cold even when the player decided to stay last season at Atlético de Madrid or at the moment when Messi and Luis Suárez expressed their reservations regarding the operation and supported the return of Neymar.
"My father taught me as a child that trains do not pass only once," said Griezmann, referring to that moment in a video posted by Barcelona on his social networks after announcing the signing. "The time has come to accept the challenge of a new destiny, in the end, our paths come together, I will defend the Barça jersey with all my commitment and commitment", concluded the Frenchman.
Barça is not worried about what they will say or the claims of Atlético after depositing through a player's lawyer the 120 million clause of termination of the contract in the Professional Football League. The club rojiblanco, which already denounced the player for not joining on Sunday to the preseason as a member of the staff headed by Diego Simeone, now claims 80 million more to Barcelona.
Atletico believes that Griezmann's "commitment" to Barça was closed before the clause passed from 200 to 120 million and exposed as evidence that the player reported that he dissociated from the club on May 14, date before July 1 , when the amount went to 120. Once considered that such amount is "insufficient", Atlético will take legal action to defend against Barcelona.
Barça will have five French players after the arrival of Griezmann. The former rojiblanco striker, for which the Royal Society will receive 24 million - 20% of the termination clause stipulated in the contract of transfer to Atlético - will join Lenglet, Dembélé, Todibo and Umtiti. To the signing of Griezmann must be added that of De Jong and that of goalkeeper Neto. The template is not yet complete pending the hiring of a left back. The club announced yesterday the addition of Japanese Hiroki Abe, 20-year-old midfielder from Kashima Antlers who will initially perform at Barça B.
It remains to know, on the other hand, if Barça will bid for Neymar. The Brazilian has already expressed his willingness to return to the Camp Nou. The problem is that the Barca club is only willing to incorporate Neymar with an exchange of players and an investment of no more than 100 million while awaiting the decision taken by the also intended De Ligt, who negotiates with Juve.
The rojiblanca directive is hurt because the negotiations leaked, especially when Barça wanted to pay the signing in installments, and could not include Nelson Semedo in the operation. Griezmann decided to leave Atlético after having renewed last summer and accept that the termination clause would go from 100 to 200 million until July 1, when it would be 120 million. The difference between the 100 million then and the 120 now would be interestingly the 20 million that, according to several sources, the attacker would have perceived in his last year in the Wanda.
The French striker, world champion in Russia, aspires to win the Champions League with Barça after not being able to achieve it last season with Atlético, host club of the final that Liverpool won. The importance of Griezmann in the Camp Nou is expressed in his new rescission clause of 800 million, 100 more than that of Messi, and in a contract for five years at a rate of about 105 million in total.
The presentation of the player will be held this Sunday at 7.30 pm in circumstances similar to those of Net porter and without the pomp that De Jong's arrival had because the turf of Camp Nou is currently being changed. The cost of the incorporation of Griezmann approaches in any case the one of the most expensive signings of the Barça. Barca club paid 120 million plus 40 in variables by Coutinho and 105 plus 35 in variables by Dembélé. "It's a good market operation, if we look at the price, and more if we take into account their football performance," they defend from the Camp Nou offices.
Coutinho and Dembélé have not covered the gap that Neymar left when he went to PSG and caused the signing of the Brazilian and the French from Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. Coutinho could be transferred and there are doubts about the continuity of Dembélé, which Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu considers "better player than Neymar". Waiting to know how the Brazilian soap opera evolves in Paris, Barça attends to one of the requests of the technicians with the recruitment of Griezmann.
"It goes well to space and is a scorer", summed up Ernesto Valverde when he referred in his day to former Atletico striker. The coach needed a third forward capable of competing or complementing the Messi-Luis Suárez couple. Griezmann has shown both in Real Sociedad and Atlético a great capacity for adaptation, character and an excellent relationship with the goal, values that Barcelona needs to shake an attack that is paralyzed in the final phase of the Champions League.
Griezmann will have to score goals to win over a supporter who blew him on his last visit to the stadium with the Atlético shirt. The fans, hurt, have not yet accepted that the player gave through a program -The decision- produced by a company of Gerard Piqué. From then on, the squad has also expressed its differences with the player in clear disagreement with the technicians and the board of Josep Maria Bartomeu. The president warned precisely in the presentation of De Jong: "Let's end with the legend that Messi asks players." The arrival of Griezmann would give the reason to Bartomeu and confirm that Messi wants players to win the Champions League.