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Barcelona close in on Antoine Griezmann transfer with club set to pay €120m release clause at La Liga HQ today

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 12/07/2019 Ben Hayward
Antoine Griezmann wearing a red shirt standing in front of a crowd © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Antoine Griezmann's protracted transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona could be completed on Friday as the Catalans prepare to pay the player's €120million release clause.

A report in French sports paper L'Equipe claimed the clause had been paid by Barca on Thursday evening, but Standard Sport understands the Catalan club plan to make the transaction on Friday.

Atletico were unhappy at Barca's proposal to pay the fee in instalments and the Rojiblancos released a statement last Friday in which they conveyed their "strong disapproval" at both the Catalan club and also their own player, telling the 28-year-old he was expected at pre-season training on Sunday.

(Photo by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Griezmann, who is away in Ibiza, believes he is entitled to 30 days holiday in any case and the French forward is waiting for the call from his representatives to tell him the move has been completed.

One of the player's lawyers will make the payment of his clause, which dropped from €200m to €120m on July 1st, at La Liga's offices in Madrid. No representatives from Barca are expected to be present, but the full €120m will be transferred after Atleti's insistence that the fee be paid up front.

(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

An article in AS earlier in the week claimed Barca were having problems finding the funds to pay the clause and also said that wages had been paid three days late, although that report remains unsubstantiated.

Barca do have concerns over their wage structure, which accounts for 64% of the club's total income, but they have now seemingly set aside the funds for Griezmann.

a group of young men playing a game of football: Griezmann in action for Atletico against Barcelona last season Photo: AFP/Getty Images © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Griezmann in action for Atletico against Barcelona last season Photo: AFP/Getty Images

If the transfer is completed on Friday, the French forward could be presented at Camp Nou on Sunday, although his unveiling might have to take place behind closed doors as work on a new pitch continues at the stadium.

In the event of any last-minute problems on Friday, Barca will wait until Monday to complete the deal, but would rather have the transfer done by then because that is the day the club starts pre-season training. Medical tests for the players will take place on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is 28 years old and scored 133 goals in 257 appearances for Atletico, is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Catalan club.

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