Atleti send Saul to Chelsea, recall Griezmann from Barça

Sports Desk, Aug 31 (EFE).- The summer transfer window ended late Tuesday with a flurry of activity involving Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona, but Real Madrid saw their hopes of acquiring Kylian Mbappe collapse in the face of the intransigence of Paris Saint-Germain.

Atleti, the defending LaLiga champions, said they agreed to send 26-year-old Saul Ñiguez to Chelsea on a one-year loan and that the Premier League side will have an option to make the move permanent.

The Champions League holders will have to cough up roughly 40 million euros ($47.2 million) if they decide they want to keep the midfielder, who has scored 43 goals in 340 matches for the Colchoneros.

A move away from Madrid had appeared to be on the cards since the end of last season, when Saul went from regular starter to frequently called upon sub.

While Saul’s departure was expected, news that Antoine Griezmann would be returning on loan to the team he led in scoring for all five of the seasons he spent at the Wanda Metropolitano came as somewhat of a surprise, especially given the circumstances of his 2019 leap to Barça.

The France international, who cost Barcelona 120 million euros, has struggled with the Blaugrana and the new management at the Catalan club embraced the chance to trim their payroll amid the financial straits that made it impossible for them to hang on to Lionel Messi.

FC Barcelona said the accord includes an option for an additional season as well as a “compulsory permanent transfer clause.”

With both Messi and Griezmann gone, the Blaugrana need a striker and they turned to Sevilla, who agreed to send Luuk de Jong to Barcelona.

De Jong is a known quantity to Barça coach Ronald Koeman from the latter’s tenure as manager of the Dutch national team.

The summer window witnessed some blockbuster moves, such as Messi to PSG and Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus back to Manchester United, but Real Madrid’s fervent pursuit of Mbappe came to naught.

Even an offer reputed to be in the neighborhood of 200 million euros was not enough to persuade PSG to part with the 22-year-old Paris native, who is in the last year of his contract.

But the Blancos did not end the window empty-handed. They picked up David Alaba on a free transfer early in the summer and wrapped up their business on Tuesday with a deal for Eduardo Camavinga.

Real Madrid agreed to pay Stade Rennes up to 40 million euros for the Angolan-born midfielder.

Barcelona sold Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig for up to 22 million euros and earned 25 million euros from the sale of Emerson to Tottenham Hotspur. EFE


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