Home Football Barcelona adds Sevilla’s Luuk De Jong as Antoine Griezmann returns Atletico Madrid

Barcelona adds Sevilla’s Luuk De Jong as Antoine Griezmann returns Atletico Madrid

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Barcelona has added Netherlands striker Luuk de Jong from Sevilla on a season-long loan after France’s Antoine Griezmann left the Nou Camp to rejoin Atletico Madrid on a similar contract.

Barca will pay 31-year-old De Jong’s salary this season and have a chance to make his stay permanent next summer.

Atletico takes on Griezmann’s salary this term, but there is a mandatory clause to make the transfer last.

The 30-year-old goes back to Atletico two years after he joined Barca for £107m.

The France striker scored 133 goals in 257 games for Atletico, winning the Europa League, Uefa Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup during his time in the Spanish capital.

But the 30-year-old scored just 35 goals in 102 games and tried to win only the Copa del Rey with Barca.

Previous summer, Atletico signed striker Luis Suarez from Barcelona and he helped Diego Simeone’s side win La Liga.

Eleven leave and wages cut at cash-strapped Barca

Griezmann became the 11th player to leave financially struggling Barcelona this summer, involving Lionel Messi.

Barcelona had to let their all-time top goalscorer leave to fit within La Liga’s wage structure, and Messi joined Paris St-Germain.

Griezmann was the third transfer deadline day sale from Barcelona. Right-back Emerson Royal joined Tottenham for £25.8m and teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba moved to RB Leipzig for £13.7m.

The only money Barca spent to bring in a player on a permanent deal during the summer transfer window was to exercise their option to call Emerson back from Betis for a reported 9m euros, only to offload him for a great profit.

De Jong, who scored 19 goals in 93 games for Sevilla after moving to La Liga from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2019, is the fourth forward to join Barca this summer after compatriot Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero, and Yusuf Demir.

Having Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba agree to salary reductions on Tuesday ensured Aguero could be registered and helped “to extend the club’s limit with regards to financial fair play regulations,” a Barca statement expressed.

Gerard Pique did the same earlier in the summer.

Analysis

        French football expert Julien Laurens on BBC Radio 5 Live

The most baffling thing for me is that yet again, like they did with Luis Suarez last summer, Barcelona are just strengthening the squad of their opponents for the title.

Griezmann was not happy at Barca, but you are giving one of your direct opponents for the title – and one of the other big clubs in Spain – one of your best players arguably, a great player, and you don’t get anything in exchange.

I don’t know who makes those decisions, but I find them crazy decisions. Great!

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