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BARCELONA

Barcelona announce Griezmann

Barcelona have paid 120 million to buy-out the player's contract, however Atleti consider the clause to be 200 million as the agreement was reached in March between club and player.

Barcelona announce Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann (21-3-1991, 28 years old) is officially a Barcelona player, according to the Catalan club. The Frenchman's lawyer deposited Griezmann's 120 million buy-out clause at the offices of LaLiga in Madrid this Friday morning and Barcelona officially announced the signing of the player, who joins Barça for five years, with an 800 million euro buy-out clause.

Atlético Madrid however have released a statement subsequent to Barcelona's announcement stating that the buy-out clause for Griezmann should be 200 million, the clause that was in effect back in March, when Atleti believe Griezmann and Barcelona agreed personal terms.

Atlético Madrid, in their statement, say that Griezmann is expected at pre-season training on Sunday, whilst also expressing their utter disgust at the behaviour of both player and Barcelona, "particularly Barcelona, for inducing a player to break their contractual relationship with Atlético Madrid at a time in the season when the club was playing, not just a Champions League tie against Juventus, but also the League title against Barcelona itself."

Griezmann saga finally at an end

The official announcement, if it turns out to be final, brings to an end a nearly two year transfer saga which intensified in the past month and half after the Frenchman announced on 14 May that he was leaving Atlético Madrid this summer. Atleti was Griezmann's second club in LaLiga, having joined from Real Sociedad (who will receive 24 million euros of the transfer fee), the club where he came up through the ranks having been rejected by a number of clubs in France.

Difficult negotiations between Atlético and Barcelona for Griezmann

Initial negotiations between Atleti, who are convinced the player agreed personal terms with his new club back in March, and Barça collapsed because the Catalan outfit wanted to pay the clause in instalments, while Atleti were looking to include Semedo in the operation at a reasonable price, something Barcelona were unwilling to do. After a scathing public statement about the situation from Atlético Madrid, Barcelona were left looking to find the 120 million euros in order to pay the buy-out clause, facing, as they do, cash flow problems.

World Cup winner with France in 2018, Griezmann leaves Atleti in pursuit of the glory at club level he's been unable to find under Simeone, having lost a Champions League final in Milan where he missed the decisive penalty. Having flirted with Barcelona last season, before standing them up in a bizarre TV programme called 'The Decision' (produced by Gerard Piqué's production company), the two parties started talking agin in November and reached a verbal agreement in March, which has now become reality - just as Atleti general manager Gil Marín said would happen on 14 June.

Barcelona's new dream front line

Barcelona now have a dream forward line-up, with Griezmann joining Messi and Luis Suárez, the two heavyweights of the Barça dressing room, who had backed Griezmann's arrival last year and this year have made it clear they would be happy to see Neymar return. Negotiations are ongoing between Barcelona and PSG, but it would seem more likely now that Barcelona will settle for signing just Griezmann this summer, particularly given their cash flow problems, which complicated the transfer of the Frenchman.

Griezmann has played 124 games in the last two seasons (97 with Atlético Madrid and 27 with France), scoring 63 goals (50 with his club and 13 with his country) and has set up 33 goals (25 and 8 respectively). He is expected to start training with Valverde and the squad on Monday, with his presentation to be on Sunday at the Camp Nou.