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    Diego Simeone all but confirms he is under club orders NOT to start Antoine Griezmann | Daily Mail Online

    Diego Simeone all but confirms he is under club orders NOT to start Antoine Griezmann to prevent triggering £35m payment to Barcelona… with the bullish Atletico Madrid boss adamant he is ‘a man of the club’

    Diego Simeone has all but admitted he is not starting Antoine Griezmann because the club will be forced to pay Barcelona €40million (£35m) if he plays enough minutes this season.

    Griezmann has two goals already but is yet to start a game having come on for Atletico at minute 64, minute 62 and minute 75 in Atletico’s three matches.

    Asked why the player has only come on as a late sub so far this season Simeone said: ‘You have known me for ten years now; I am a man of the club and I always will be’.

    Antoine Griezmann has been starting matches on the bench for Atletico Madrid this season

    Diego Simeone all but suggested on Friday that he is under club orders not to start the striker

    The answer was him all but admitting the order has come down to limit the Frenchman’s minutes because of the clause in his loan agreement from Barcelona.

    If Griezmann plays more than 45 minutes in 14 games this season then Atletico Madrid are bound by contract to sign him for €40m (£35m) from Barcelona and give him two more years.

    What remains to be seen is if Atletico will now persist with this policy after the closing of the transfer window.

    It’s possible that Atletico were pressuring the player and his parent club Barcelona to look for an alternative destination for him this summer by indicating that they were not planning to use him enough to trigger his buy clause.

    Atletico will owe Barcelona £35m if he plays a certain amount of minutes as per the agreement

    Now that the window is shut the club could use him more freely. The first test of the post-market policy will come on Saturday when they face Real Sociedad.

    They were one of Spain’s biggest movers in the market selling Alexander Isak to Newcastle and buying Umar Sadiq from Almeria.

    They also won the award for the best-negotiated add-ons in any deadline day deal with the bonuses factored into Umar Sadiq’s signing from Almeria.

    Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay revealed on Thursday that the club will pay Almeria €1m (£866,000) if they win LaLiga; another €1m (£866,000) if they win two leagues; €750,000 (£650,000) if Sadiq wins the Golden Boot, €750,000 (£650,000) if Real Sociedad play a Champions League semi-final, and another €500,000 (£433,000) if he ends up as LaLiga top scorer.

    If Almeria get to cash all those checks Sadiq will have been the greatest signing in Real Sociedad’s history. 

    His sale still represented good business for Almeria. They get €20m (£17.3m), plus €2m (£1.7m) in far more easily-obtained add-ons for the prolific 25-year-old Nigerian striker.

    Barcelona boss Xavi is likely to take a dim view of the brinkmanship going on at Atletico Madrid

    Diego Simeone all but confirms he is under club orders NOT to start Antoine Griezmann

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