Griezmann returns to Atletico Madrid as striker Luuk de Jong joins Barca

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Griezmann returns to Atletico Madrid as striker Luuk de Jong joins Barca
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Barcelona have signed Sevilla and former Newcastle forward Luuk de Jong, 31, on loan after shipping Antoine Griezmann out on loan to Atletico Madrid – their title rivals.

With over £1bn worth of debt, Barca embarked on a cost-cutting offload that saw captain and legend Lionel Messi move to Paris St-Germain.

Then on deadline day they let £107m signing Antoine Griezmann rejoin rivals Atletico on loan – the 11th player to leave the club this summer.

Coming the other way was former Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong, joining on a season-long loan from Sevilla.

It is the second successive season that Barca have strengthened their rivals. Last season Luis Suarez fired Atletico to the title after joining from Barcelona.

Barcelona’s forwards now consist of new signings: Dutch forward Memphis Depay, former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, on-loan Austrian teenager Yusuf Demir, De Jong, plus Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite and the injured 18-year-old Ansu Fati, who has been given Messi’s iconic number 10 shirt.

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Barca will pay 31-year-old De Jong’s salary this season and have an option to make the Netherland international’s stay permanent next summer.

Atletico take on Griezmann’s salary this term, but there is a compulsory clause to make the transfer permanent.

Griezmann was the third transfer deadline day sale from Barcelona. Right-back Emerson Royal joined Tottenham for £25.8m and teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba moved to RB Leipzig for £13.7m.

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