News ID: 260606
Published: 0342 GMT October 22, 2019

Barca pays €15m for first refusal on Atletico stars

Barca pays €15m for first refusal on Atletico stars

Barcelona paid Atletico Madrid €15 million to have the first refusal on Saul Niguez, Jose Gimenez and three other academy players, with sources from both clubs denying the payment has anything to do with the Antoine Griezmann deal.

Barca signed Griezmann from Atletico for his €120-million release clause in July, ESPN FC reported.

The clause had just dropped from €200 million and the Rojiblancos continue to fight for the full amount, alleging that the Catalan club approached the France forward long before the clause had reduced.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation fined Barca €300 last month over irregularities regarding the transfer. Both Barca and Atletico appealed the ruling.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed on Monday that Barca and Atletico have now agreed a €15-million fee to settle the case. The report added that, as part of the agreement, Atletico had given the Barca a preferential option on a number of its players.

A high-ranking source at Barcelona strongly denied that the payment has anything to do with Griezmann but confirmed that the club had acquired an option to skip to the front of the queue to sign Saul, Gimenez and several other Atletico players. The source added that Barca regularly does these types of deals.

An Atletico source also confirmed the club has reached an agreement whereby Barca is entitled to first refusal over some of its players. The source would not name the players included in the deal or the figure which Barca paid.

ESPN FC learned that the deal was done in September and means that whenever Atletico receives an offer for the players included in the agreement, it must let Barca know immediately. The Spanish champion will then have the right to match the proposal.

It's not the first time that Barca has had a first refusal option on Spain midfielder Saul. When David Villa moved to Atletico in 2013, it was granted first refusal on Saul, Koke and Javier Manquillo as part of the deal. That option has since expired.

Saul, 24, has a contract at the Wanda Metropolitano until 2026 and a release clause of €150 million.

Uruguayan center-back Gimenez, also 24, has a deal until 2023 and a €120-million buyout clause.






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