La Liga

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Griezmann thankful for ‘another chance’ to join Barcelona

Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after publicly rejecting an offer to join Barcelona, France forward Antoine Griezmann put on his new blue-and-burgundy shirt and thanked the Spanish champions for giving him a second opportunity.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

Griezmann signed his five-year contract with Barcelona on Sunday to complete his move from rival Spanish club Atletico Madrid.

After inking the deal, Griezmann told club president Josep Bartomeu “thanks for giving me another chance.”

Griezmann had openly flirted with joining Barcelona last year in a “behind-the-scenes” documentary that followed him for weeks as he contemplated the pros and cons of staying at Atletico or making the jump to Lionel Messi’s club.

The 45-minute “The Decision,” which was produced by a company owned by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, concluded with Griezmann accepting a new contract with Atletico, which also promised to provide him with teammates who could finally help him win an elusive major title.

But after another season finishing runner-up to Barcelona, Griezmann said it was now time to change his mind and make the leap to the five-time European champion.

“This year is different,” Griezmann said at a news conference at Camp Nou on Sunday.

[ MORE: Pulisic impressing Lampard with early preseason start ]

Griezmann said that, other than being reluctant 13 months ago to uproot his family from Madrid, he also “wasn’t prepared to make that step and felt like I had something left to do at Atletico.

“This is a new challenge, a chance for me to improve, to not be complacent, to fight for a spot in the starting 11, to be an important player for this club, and to win a Liga, a Copa del Rey, and a Champions League, which are missing from my trophy case,” he said.

As for any Barcelona fans, or new teammates, who could still feel spurned by “The Decision,” Griezmann said that he was confident he could win them over.

“I have done some bad things in my past,” he said. “(But) I have never repented. (The documentary) was something that I wanted to do and thought should be seen. I didn’t toy with either (club). The important thing is that we are now together. If I have to ask anyone for forgiveness, I will do so on the pitch, where I speak the best.”

The 28-year-old Griezmann helped France to win the World Cup last year. In five seasons with Atletico, he scored 133 goals and won the Europa League, a Spanish Super Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. But there was also a lot of frustration at coming so close to even greater glory with a loss in a Champions League final and second-place finishes in the Spanish league.

[ WATCH: Mahrez sends Algeria to AFCON final with last kick of game ]

Now Griezmann will go from being the leader of Atletico’s attack to becoming effectively a sidekick to Messi, and strike partner to Luis Suarez.

Griezmann had a contract with Atletico until 2023 with a buyout clause of $224 million, but the clause automatically fell to $134 million on July 1.

Barcelona announced it had paid $134 million to free Griezmann from his contract on Friday. Atletico, however, is demanding that Barcelona pay the full $224 million because they believe that the player had already negotiated the move to Barcelona before July 1.

Bartomeu insisted Sunday that “there is nothing” to Atletico’s claim because he said Barcelona only contacted Griezmann’s agent after the player announced in May that he wanted to leave Atletico.

Transfer rumor roundup: Ceballos to Spurs; Elliott to Liverpool

Leave a comment

The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are kicking up a few notches between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the start of the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


Tottenham’s busy summer (like, super, super busy compared to the last few…) looks set to continue.

Spurs are reportedly in talks to sign Real Madrid and Spain U21 midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to our partners at Sky Sports, Ceballos, 22, prefers an initial loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu so he can get more regular action.

He has four years left on his current contract at Real after joining them from Real Betis in 2017, and he may have to further bide his time to become a regular for the Spanish giants as he’s made a modest 53 appearances (mostly off the bench) in all competitions over the past two seasons. That said, do Spurs need another midfield? They’ve completed the club-record signing of Tanguy Ndombele for the defensive midfield role, while Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko will also compete for starting spots, and both Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are in the attacking midfield roles for now.

The most likely scenario for Ceballos signing for Tottenham is if Eriksen leaves, as he said he wants to, this summer and the young Spaniard can arrive to try and prove himself in the Premier League. A loan deal also suits Spurs well, as Daniel Levy is unlikely to sanction many other big-money signings this summer.

After Ceballos’ superb displays in Spain’s victory at the U21 European Championships this summer, there are sure to be plenty of clubs trying to sign the Real youngster who reportedly has a $520 million release clause in his contract.

Nobody is going to pay that for the talented young midfielder, so a loan move is probably about right, for now.


Harvey Elliott, just 16 years old, is closing in on a move to Liverpool.

A move to Liverpool was first reported in the Daily Telegraph, as the youngster who became the youngster-ever Premier League player when he made his debut for Fulham last season has been chased by some of Europe’s top clubs over the summer.

But according to multiple reports Elliott has decided to take his talents to Anfield, a place where Jurgen Klopp gives youth a chance.

Liverpool will have to pay Fulham a compensation fee, but he cannot yet sign a professional contract as he’s under 17 years old. Elliott was wanted by Real Madrid, PSG and Barcelona among many other clubs. This is a huge coup for Liverpool.

Elliott will have seen plenty of youngsters breaking through at Liverpool in recent years as the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are prime examples, while the signing of highly-rated center back Sepp van den Berg and the progression of the likes of Rhian Brewster, Marko Grujic and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all point to strong development of youngsters under Klopp at very different stages of their careers.

The England U17 international is an attacking midfielder and is regarded as one of the best young talents in European soccer. It will be intriguing to see how quickly he will break through in the months and years ahead, especially as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino still have plenty left in the tank.

He has already got the haircut of a superstar…

Pogba’s agent slams Man United: “He’s done nothing wrong”

Getty Images
3 Comments

Paul Pogba has been training with Manchester United during their preseason tour of Australia, but the Frenchman’s future at Old Trafford remains up in the air.

After his agent, Mina Raiola, last week said that he is “in the process” of sealing a transfer for Pogba, the so-called ‘super agent’ has again been speaking to the media about Pogba’s desire to leave United this summer as Real Madrid and Juventus are waiting in the wings.

In a statement released to talkSPORT Raiola defended the conduct of his client and hinted at a deal being done to move on Pogba soon.

“The player has done nothing wrong, he has been respectful and professional in every way,” Raiola said. “The club knows his feeling for a long time, it is a shame other people only like to criticize without the right information and I’m also sorry that the club does not take any position against this. Hopefully there will soon be a satisfying solution for all parties.”

That dig at United for not hitting out at long-term reports about Pogba’s attitude is a little ridiculous. Raiola himself says that Pogba told United some time ago he wanted to leave, so that is hardly going to be a good situation for anyone involved.

The main question here is this: is Pogba moving on to get another big pay day at the request of Raiola? Things were going so well for him, and United, during the first few months of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s reign but then it all changed rather quickly as his, and United’s, form dropped off drastically.

Pogba, 26, has turned up for United’s preseason tour and unlike Neymar’s situation at PSG, he is doing what is asked of him. For now.

Solskjaer will not want Pogba around if he’s disrupting the group and not focused on being at United beyond the end of the summer transfer window on Aug. 8.

After Pogba missed the first week of preseason, which was cleared by Solskjaer, due to not having a long break last summer, it will be intriguing to see if he plays a part in either of their friendly games against Perth Glory or Leeds United in Australia over the coming days.

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, let’s no paint Pogba out to be the victim here. He wants to leave United and his agent is trying his best to force through the move. United don’t want to sell and are asking over $180 million for him. This deal will likely go down to the wire on transfer deadline day.

Chelsea, Atleti agree permanent move for Morata following loan

Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) Spain striker Alvaro Morata is moving to Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal from Chelsea, ending a disappointing two years in England.

[ MORE: Man United “in the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

Chelsea announced the transfer of Morata on Saturday. He was on loan at Atletico for the second half of last season and was due to continue there until the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

Morata joined Chelsea from Real Madrid for a then-club record of $75 million in 2017. He never established himself as a regular starter, scoring 24 times in 72 appearances.

[ MORE: Barcelona president says Antoine Griezmann talks underway ]

Morata played in Atletico’s youth program before joining Real Madrid’s academy in 2008.

Barcelona president says Griezmann talks underway; Atleti now furious

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Antoine Griezmann transfer saga is into Day 52, and the plot has thickened considerably.

[ MORE: Man United “in the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

There are loud rumblings once again about a potential move to Barcelona, for the first time in weeks. Not your run-of-the-mill transfer rumors that inevitably lead to nowhere, but straight from the horse’s mouth: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed on Friday that just 24 hours earlier when directors from each club made “first contact” over a potential deal.

That is, of course, really big news coming from a source that should actually know what he’s talking about.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking the new 2019-20 Premier League kits ]

It was a bit too transparent of an admission for the folks at Atletico Madrid, though, and they’re now furious over 1) Bartomeu going public with his statement; 2) the terms proposed by Barcelona; 3) his belief that Barcelona and Griezmann previously negotiated, and agreed, a deal back in February. Atleti released the following statement shortly after Bartomeu made his comments:

“On May 14, Antoine Griezmann informed Miguel Angel Gil, Diego Pablo Simeone and Andrea Berta of his decision to leave our club at the end of the season. In the days that followed that meeting, Atletico Madrid learned that FC Barcelona and the player had reached an agreement in March, specifically in the days following the return match of our Champions League tie against Juventus, and that they had been negotiating the terms of the agreement since mid-February.”

With Griezmann’s release clause now just — just — $135 million, down from $225 million as of July 1, he is now significantly more affordable. That hasn’t stopped Barcelona from trying to finagle a nice deal for themselves, though. Rather than paying the $135-million fee upfront, they asked Atleti to accept a deferred payment. Los Rojiblancos‘ response was exactly as one would expect.

“Regarding president Bartomeu’s statement today we wish to state that it is true that yesterday there was a meeting between Miguel Angel Gil and FC Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, at Barcelona’s request and that at that meeting, Mr. Grau expressed his intention, once the release clause of Antoine Griezmann’s contract had decreased from 200 to 120 million euros, to ask for a deferred payment of the aforementioned amount of the clause in force as from July 1. Atletico Madrid’s response was obviously negative, as we believe that FC Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atletico Madrid and all its fans.”

Barcelona have already completed transfers for midfielder Frenkie de Jong ($84 million), goalkeeper Neto ($29 million) and defender Emerson ($13 million) this summer.