Atletico Madrid and Barcelona end Antoine Griezmann standoff

Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal with Barcelona for the permanent signing of Antoine Griezmann, multiple sources have told ESPN, ending the stalemate that has seen the French striker start just one LaLiga game this season.

Griezmann, 31, returned to Atletico in August 2021 on a two-year loan deal, which he left in a €120m transfer to Barcelona in 2019 after struggling to adjust to life at the Camp Nou.

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The terms of the loan deal said Atletico would be obliged to pay €40m to sign Griezmann permanently if he played 45 minutes or more in 50% of the games he was available for over the two years.

Atletico were unwilling to pay that fee and the club ordered manager Diego Simeone to limit his use of Griezmann this season in a bid to force Barcelona to negotiate.

That created an awkward situation where Griezmann, the fourth-highest goalscorer in Atletico history, was repeatedly used as a second-half substitute.

After lengthy discussions, sources told ESPN that the two clubs have now reached a consensus to make the loan permanent for a fee just over half of the €40m originally agreed for 2021.

The player himself wanted to resolve the matter as soon as possible, sources said, partly because he wanted to extend his minutes ahead of the World Cup.

Griezmann has been a substitute in six of Atletico’s seven La Liga games this season and in two of their three Champions League group games so far.

“You’ve known me as a coach for 10 years. I’m a club man and I always will be,” said Simeone in September when asked about his role with Griezmann.

A ending to the saga means Barcelona are now also avoiding the risk of Griezmann – and his sizable salary package – returning to them next summer when his loan expires.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4761729/atletico-madrid-and-barcelona-end-antoine-griezmann-stand-off-sources Atletico Madrid and Barcelona end Antoine Griezmann standoff

Emma Bowman

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