Antoine Griezmann has sent a goodbye message to Barcelona fans after sealing a shock deadline-day exit from the Camp Nou. The Frenchman has rejoined former club Atletico Madrid on a loan with a purchase option.
The forward has taken to social media to say thank you for Barcelona after just over two years with the Catalan giants. He wrote, “Dear Culers, I say goodbye thankful for your love. I gave everything for this shirt, I’ve been involved with this great club and I’m leaving sad for not having been able to enjoy more with you in the stands, but I’m proud to have been one of yours.”
Griezmann was not the only departure on a busy deadline day for the Catalan giants. Right-back Emerson Royal moved to Tottenham Hotspur, midfielder Ilaix Moriba joined RB Leipzig, and striker Rey Manaj has signed for Spezia on loan.
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Barcelona Confirms Griezmann Move
Barcelona confirmed Griezmann’s move in a statement on Wednesday after frantic speculation on deadline-day that the forward would return to the Wanda Metropolitano Staidum.
“FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have reached an agreement for the loan of Antoine Griezmann for a season with the option of a further season,” read a club statement. “The Madrid club will pay the player’s wages and there is a compulsory permanent transfer clause.”
Griezmann leaves Barcelona after largely failing to live up to his hefty €120 million price tag. The Frenchman scored 22 goals in 74 La Liga outings but struggled to find a natural place in the team.
The purchase option in Griezmann’s transfer is for €40 million ($47m), according to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano. Griezmann’s departure also removes one of the club’s highest earners from the wage bill which should help Barca’s financial difficulties.
Barca Brings In Luuk de Jong From Sevilla
Griezmann’s exit was not the only late piece of transfer business done by Barcelona on deadline day. The club also moved to sign Dutch striker Luuk de Jong from Sevilla on loan.
A club statement read, “FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC have reached an agreement for the loan of Luuk de Jong until 30 June 2022. The Club will pay the player’s wages and have an option to make the deal permanent.”
The 31-year-old has enjoyed a varied career and played for a host of clubs across Europe including PSV Eindhoven, Newcastle United, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and FC Twente.
De Jong won three league titles with PSV, scoring 122 goals in just 204 official appearances, but has struggled to replicate that kind of prolific form away from the Netherlands.
Indeed the striker managed just 10 goals for Sevilla in 69 outings. De Jong becomes the latest Dutch player to join Barcelona and will link up with compatriots Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong as well as coach Ronald Koeman.
De Jong has already reacted to the move with a brief post on Twitter.
The 31-year-old will now form part of Koeman’s attacking plans for 2021-22 and will compete with forwards Memphis, Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele for a place in the starting XI at the Camp Nou.