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23rd Aug 2022

Barcelona fear Atletico Madrid aren’t playing Antoine Griezmann to avoid paying transfer fee

Callum Boyle

Barcelona being given a taste of their own medicine

Barcelona are concerned that Atletico Madrid are deliberately not giving Antoine Griezmann a healthy amount of game time due to a clause in his contract.

Griezmann returned to Atletico on a two-year loan in 2021, with the move being made permanent in 2023 if certain requirements be met.

The Spanish side will have to sign the Frenchman if he plays in 50 per cent of those matches that he is available for, but Barça are concerned that they are restricting the number of minutes he plays to avoid paying a €40m (£33.8m) fee, as per Sport.

In order to qualify for the deal, Griezmann has to play at least 45 minutes in each of the games he is available in but the forward has only played 28 minutes across the opening two league games.

Barcelona Griezmann

Barça believe that Atletico boss, Diego Simeone, has been instructed by the club’s hierarchy to reduce the 31-year-old’s playing time as they don’t want to sign him due to their financial situation.

Just like Barcelona, Atletico are also struggling and have operated on a much lower scale in this summer’s transfer window. Nahuel Molina and Samuel Lino have joined from Udinese and Gil Vicente as well as Axel Witsel on a free transfer.

The club had to wait before they were able to register Witsel due to exceeding their salary cap limit. This comes as Barcelona’s latest signing, Jules Koundé, continues to wait to be registered.

Koundé has missed both of the Catalan giants’ league games as a result as the club look to reduce their wage bill by selling first team players.

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