Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have both denied that the €15m that was sent from the former to the latter is related to the controversial summer transfer of Antoine Griezmann.

Barcelona triggered a €120m buyout clause to sign the Frenchman in July, but Atletico argued that the deal with the player was agreed before the clause dropped from €200m, making the Catalans obliged to cough up the larger amount.

Antoine Griezmann

Leaked emails later appeared to show that Griezmann had indeed negotiated his contract with ​Barcelona as early as March, to the point of being able to decide how much commission various members of his entourage were going to receive.

Atletico had already filed a complaint to La Liga without having seen that evidence, but Barcelona were ultimately only fined a paltry sum of €300 – and they planned to appeal it.

But a €15m payment from Barça to Atletico this week is nothing to do with Griezmann.

SPORT have been told by Barcelona sources that the money is not related to Atletico’s demand for further payment over Griezmann, while Mundo Deportivo had been told similar by Atletico.

The €15m is believed to be a gesture that will give Barcelona first refusal on several Atletico players should they ever be sold. Centre-back Jose Gimenez and midfielder Saul Niguez are the first-team stars included in it, while there are also a handful of un-named academy players.

Saul Niguez

It essentially means that Atletico must give Barcelona an opportunity to match any future offer they wish to accept for the players covered by the agreement.

Mundo Deportivo specifically explains that this arrangement is effectively laying the groundwork for repairing a previously healthy relationship between the clubs that was damaged by the Griezmann saga.

Both David Villa and Arda Turan have also transferred from one to the other in recent years.

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