Antoine Griezmann has finalized his unexpected return to his former club Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan from Barcelona. The Catalonia-based club had to make that decision because of their current predicament.
Expert opinion on this is Clear, letting Antoine go from a footballing point of view is bad but from a financial angle, it’s the best decision. Getting Griezmann’s audacious wage off their books should be considered a smart decision.
The question now is, are they going to survive the campaign with less capable legs? Antoine Griezmann departed from Atletico Madrid for Barcelona for a deal in the region of £103m two years ago.
For obvious reasons, he didn’t live up to the billing and the highest level of performance Barcelona were envisaging from him. The former World Cup winner returns to the red and white side of Madrid on a season-long loan with an option to buy for a fee of €40m.
According to the report from Barcelona, Atletico have an obligation to make the deal permanent next summer but Atletico are fond of taking advantage of Barcelona’s vulnerability. They insisted and are clinging to the option to extend the loan instead of an outright purchase after his loan spell, which to some extent, is a leeching mentality.
It’s a hard decision and mind troubling to see Barcelona letting one of their leading attackers go to their direct rival. From the football sense, they’re empowering them to have an edge in the league title race.
Bizarrely, Antoine isn’t the first Barcelona player to switch from Catalonia to Atletico Madrid In recent times. 10 notable ones have played for both Spanish giants. They’re Luiz Garcia, Jesus Landaburu, Thiago Motta, Marcos Alonso Pena, Bernd Schuster, Eusebio Sacristan, Miguel Reina (Pepe Reina’s dad), David Villa, Luis Suarez and the recent one, Antoine Griezmann.
The last two before Antoine (David villa and Luis Suarez) had a successful run when they made that switch. They both won the Spanish La Liga with the Madrid giants a year later. David Villa pushed Atletico to the 2014 UEFA Champions League final which they lost to their city rivals – Real Madrid.
The last three on the list are the most controversial and most talked-about deals that divided and are still dividing opinions of people and fan base who don’t understand the rationale behind the movement.
Barcelona’s recent financial crisis could have been their major undoing. Fans may not see the reason why the deal had to be completed but from a business perspective, Barcelona is dying.
They cannot afford to sink with players in the team with hefty wages. They had to ameliorate the situation and stay afloat till they’re financially viable.
The financial situation couldn’t have been worse than what they will ever imagine. It forced their hands on the Lionel Messi saga as they allowed the greatest football player in the history of the club and arguably the world over to make a switch from Catalonia to Paris on a free transfer.
People who loathed Antoine Griezmann are elated that he’s gone for good but those who loved the player saw his departure as a loss. The team that just lost a genius in the mold of Messi shouldn’t have taken such a decision that could hamper their chances of domestic success in the long run.
This cannot go without mentioning the last-minute deal Barcelona made before the transfer window slammed shut. Signing the Dutch forward, Luuk de Jong from Sevilla on loan was far from the reality Barcelona fans were hoping to see.
The 31-year-old made a surprising switch on Transfer deadline day to fill the void left behind by Griezmann’s departure to Atletico Madrid.
The deal was later announced and posted on Barcelona’s website “FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC have reached an agreement for the loan of Luuk de Jong until 30 June 2022”.
The Catalans are obliged to pay the player’s wages and also have an option to make the deal permanent. I don’t see the latter materializing though.
The transfer window has been shut and each club must make do with what they have or acquired but some Barcelona fans around the globe are not that convinced that the team is well stocked with suitable players.
Their concerns are on the present crop of players. The new acquisitions looked strange and unpromising to some who had witnessed the best of Barcelona in recent years, even the gaffer, Ronald Koeman, is not their preferred choice of coach.
The post-Messi era is coated with uncertainties and most Barcelona fans are not in the relaxed mode they usually were in the time past. The future looks bleak and uncertain.