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Why is Atlético Madrid announcing Griezmann’s destination before the player himself?

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Atlético are keen to push the move to Barcelona quickly, but why?

Club Atletico de Madrid v Girona FC - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

“I don’t know if I will remain in Spain,” Antoine Griezmann said.

A day later, Atlético Madrid’s CEO was saying something else: “It’s clear to me where Griezmann is going to play, it has been known since March... He will go to Barcelona.”

Was it a slip of the tongue? Unlikely. Miguel Ángel Gil Marín is known for his deliberate approach when speaking to the media. So why is the club announcing his destination before the player himself?

One theory is has to do with the Frenchman’s release clause, which currently stands at 200 million euro. Starting July 1st, that price drops to 120 million.

There has been a rumor that there is a complete agreement between Griezmann and the Catalan club, with a penalty for either side should they break it off before July.

It’s possible that Atlético think that, since Barça agreed the deal earlier (possibly in March, or perhaps even earlier) they can try to force them to pay the 200 million. Perhaps they are hoping to force Barcelona’s hand somehow? Are they hoping Griezmann or Barça slip up and admit the deal is done? Is there a legal case here at all?

So far, we have not heard anything concrete about whether this would work, or even if it’s Atléti’s strategy at all. But it does seem quite odd that the team is announcing it before the player himself wants to tell the world where his destination is.