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Soccer Transfers

Griezmann to Atlético Madrid and Saúl to Chelsea go ahead

With the transfer deadline looming the deals looked to be dead in the water, but the paperwork was filed just in time. De Jong also moves to Barcelona.

With the transfer deadline looming the deals looked to be dead in the water, but the paperwork was filed just in time. De Jong also moves to Barcelona.

With midnight looming in Spain (6pm ET) and the soccer transfer deadline about to come crashing down it looked as if two major deals which had looked certain to go through were about to fall to pieces. Atlético Madrid’s Saúl on loan to Chelsea had to go through for Antoine Griezmann to return to Atlético Madrid, but the rumours were suggesting something had gone wrong with the first deal meaning the second wasn’t happening either. That would also mean the death knell for De Jong's loan move from Sevilla to Barcelona...

Sául, Griezmann and De Jong moves all go through on the bell

 But despite the rumours, just after midnight LaLiga confirmed the paperwork had in fact all been filed in time. The first to be made official was Saúl to Chelsea, with the Twitter accounts of both clubs respectively announcing the deal. With that move having gone through it was only a matter of time before Barcelona and Atlético Madrid confirmed that Antoine Griezmann would indeed be returning to the Spanish capital. The official transfer page of LaLiga also posted the move.

With the loan deals, both Saúl and Griezmann have achieved their personal goals. The former was keen for a change of scene and is delighted at being able to play in the Premier League for a year, at least. Saúl leaves on loan with Chelsea paying a five million euro fee and having a purchase option of some 40 million.

Griezmann meanwhile heads back to the Wanda Metropolitano, which he left in 2019. The manner of his departure back then means he’ll have his work cut out to win over all the fans once again. He’s also moving on loan for one season, but in this case with the option of a second if all three parties, clubs and player, are in agreement. Atleti will pick up his wage bill and will be obliged to buy the player at the end of the loan deal.

The final player involved in what was a three-part transfer operation, with each depending on the other, is De Jong, who moves from Sevilla to Barcelona on loan.

Surprise late move

The triple operation took many by surprise, with Barcelona and Atlético only beginning conversations over this possible move yesterday. Alemany, in search of a striker for Koeman, asked Atlético to lend them João Félix, and put the idea of Griezmann returning on the table. Gil Marin said no way to the idea of João Félix moving, but told Barça that Atleti were indeed keen on the French striker.

As part of the conversations the idea of Saúl moving to Barcelona was again floated, as it had been in July, but that was ruled out in favour of the midfielder heading to the Premier League. Barcelona ended up focused on bringing in a striker and settled on Luuk de Jong, out of favour at Sevilla and delighted to put himself at the orders of Koeman.

The only thing that had to happen then for the three deals to take place was for all three deals to take place, and before the transfer window closed. In the end the clubs just got them all over the line.