Barcelona completes the €108m signing of Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann.
The La Liga champions have been courting the Frenchman for the past two summers and have now finally landed their man after paying his release clause in full. The forward, who was pictured on a boat during his holiday in Ibiza on Friday, has signed on the dotted line for Barcelona on a five-year deal, which includes an eye-watering buy-out clause of £717m.
Griezmann expressed a desire to join Barcelona earlier in the summer but the Catalan giants waited until his release clause dropped from £180m to £108m at the start of this month to submit an offer. Atletico are furious they have been forced to accept the £108m bid and vowed to take legal action against Barcelona and the player after claiming agreements were in place last season.
In a strongly-worded statement, the club wrote: ‘Atletico Madrid believes that the amount deposited (€120m) is insufficient to meet his rescission clause since it’s obvious that the commitment of the player and Barcelona was closed before the aforementioned clause was reduced from €200m to €120m.
‘Atletico Madrid believes the termination of the contract occurred before the end of last season due to events, acts and demonstrations carried out by the player and that is why we’ve already started procedures considered appropriate to defend our rights and legitimate interests’.
The 28-year-old will now join Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to form a deadly trident at the top of the pitch for Barcelona.
Griezmann departs Atletico, having scored 133 goals in 257 appearances during his five-year spell at the club. The forward came close to joining Barcelona last year but made a dramatic U-turn, signing a new contract at Atletico before saying he wanted to leave again at the end of last season.
Griezmann’s signing is expected to end speculation of Neymar making a sensational return to Barcelona this summer.
Reports in Spain have suggested that Griezmann will not be officially presented to fans after making his long-awaited move to Barcelona amid fears of a backlash.