Atlético Madrid (opens in a new tab) agreed a permanent deal for loanee Antoine Griezmann, bringing his doom of three years to Barcelona (opens in a new tab) to an end.
He moved to the Nou Camp in a dramatic £103m deal in July 2019 but became a symbol of the club’s debauchery as financial troubles set in.
Anxious to save money by reducing the wage bill, Griezmann returned to Atleti on loan last summer and the arrangement was later extended for another year.
Due to the terms of their deal with Barcelona, Simeone often deployed him as a back-up to avoid activating a transfer clause.
It was a frustrating situation for everyone involved, usually limiting Griezmann’s appearances to cameos of half an hour or less.
Following negotiations between the two clubs, a lower fee has been agreed, allowing the France international to return to his former club on a contract until 2026.
He will enhance Atleti’s creativity and vanguard from the start of games as they aim to catch Real Madrid (opens in a new tab) and Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Griezmann rose to prominence during his first spell at the Metropolitano stadium, scoring 133 goals in 257 games in all competitions.
He has become a talismanic figure and a fan favourite, netting a brace in the Europa League final in 2018 as Atleti beat Marseille 3-0.
More playing time will also boost Griezmann’s case to start the World Cup next month as France (opens in a new tab) seek to defend their title.
Didier Deschamps has plenty of attacking talent, including Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Christopher Nkunku.
New options have emerged but Deschamps has traditionally shown great loyalty to players who have served him well in the past and Griezmann was key to their success in Russia four years ago.