A simple email has Barcelona in check. But it is a very explicit and compromising email, since it proves the hidden negotiations between Antoine Griezmann and the Barça club, banned by FIFA, for being at that time a footballer with a contract in force with Atlético de Madrid, without the time allowed to negotiate would have been reached. The mail was sent in March by Griezmann's lawyer, Sevan Karian , to the footballer, his sister and representative, Maud , and their father, Alain . The lawyer details the conditions under which his incorporation into Barcelona and the commissions to be paid should occur. The email has arrived at the hands of Atlético's CEO, Miguel Ángel Gil, who now has a powerful weapon to put pressure on Barcelona.
Karian is clear in the mail that EL MUNDO has known about the conditions that Barcelona demands from Griezmann. It was the French footballer, who last year decided to stay at Atlético, who knocked on the Barca door again. Initially, he received a resounding refusal, even with some bad word to the people who made the contact. The Barça director felt betrayed by the French, in the same way as his fans. But the difficulties of Barcelona to make great incorporations made him resume contact. The directive of Josep Maria Bartomeu had considered the option of trying to sign Salah , but the Coutinho operation implied clauses that prevented him from tempting Liverpool players again for a period of time. Similarly, he refused to try Jovic , current player of Madrid. The Griezmann operation, then, was reactivated, but the first requirement was that the conditions offered to the French were exactly those agreed the previous year, before his salary increase with Atlético, which led him to the threshold of 20 million euros net year.
That is exactly what the lawyer transferred in writing, which attached to the e-mail the draft made then, which explicitly detailed the amounts that the player would charge. At the same time, the lawyer explained to the family the commissions that should be paid to the key intermediary in the operation. The differences with respect to this last section is what, according to sources close to the negotiation, could have produced the email filtering. When staying out of the operation, the commission agent would have offered, and sold, the mail to Miguel Ángel Gil , in the opinion of people around Barcelona. Atletico sources confirmed to this newspaper the knowledge of the mail, although without specifying its content, or its origin.
Risk of not being able to sign
Atlético received 120 million for the payment of the Griezmann clause, which until July 1 was 200 million . The rojiblanco club understands that if negotiations with the player began before that date, he should charge 200, so he claims the remaining 80 to Barça. The mail is thus a key test. Sources close to the Barça club, however, understand that the email does not prove a direct negotiation with Barcelona, since it does not leave its offices, employees or executives. However, the risk you run may be much more harmful than the purely economic one, since if it is proven that you negotiated with Griezmann long before six months after the end of your contract, as the FIFA regulations say, the penalty could lead him to not be able to sign during any of the windows of the market.
Those same sources insist on this newspaper that the Barça club never signed a pre-contract with the French footballer, so he denies its existence. Griezmann finally signed for five seasons with Barça, although without explicitly transcending the amounts, and a termination clause of 800 million , which would shield the player against aggressive operations such as those that led Neymar to the PSG. The French debuted on Sunday before his audience, at the Camp Nou, but the game of his signing continues.
The alternatives for a risky operation: PSG, Real Madrid and United
When Griezmann announced that he would not continue in Atlético, his signing for Barcelona was not official. It is evident that their conditions were agreed, but from the Barca environment they insist that no pre-contract was signed with the representatives of the French footballer. The delay of a few days in paying the clause in the League was due to the lack of liquidity to deposit the 120 million and the need to finance the payment by the Barça club. Atletico refused to agree to a deferred payment, as the Barca club requested, something he had already rejected with Manchester City for signing Rodri , also by paying the clause.
The opposite would have been to admit the negotiation. In these terms, the operation had its risks for Griezmann himself, but the Frenchman had learned of the interest of other clubs, as they were aware of the lowering of his clause. The main one was the PSG, since the Qatari Al-Khelaif i needs to strengthen the team, due to the growing criticism of the fans for the eliminations in the Champions League and the team image of 'vedettes'. Likewise, the possibility of coming into contact with Real Madrid, through an agent, came to the player's environment, and Manchester United's interest had reached the footballer. Initially, Griezmann did not reject any, although he always stated that his priority was to sign for Barcelona. The knowledge by the Barca club of some of the contacts also influenced the resumption of the operation, despite the reluctance of some heavyweights in the locker room, with Leo Messi in the lead, who preferred the arrival of Neymar. The Brazilian was a possibility; Griezmann, a reality.
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