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Ronald Koeman speaks on Barcelona’s decision to sell Emerson Royal and Antoine Griezmann

In an exclusive interview with Sport, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman spoke about the late exits of Emerson Royal and Antoine Griezmann to Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid.

The Blaugrana secured the ownership rights of Emerson from Real Betis for €14 million earlier this summer. The Brazilian featured in all three games of their new La Liga campaign.

Despite this, he made a surprise exit before deadline day. Spurs landed his signature for a reported fee of €25m.

Within hours of the transfer deadline, Griezmann also headed for the exit door in a shock announcement.

The Blaugrana agreed to loan him back to Atletico Madrid for two seasons with an obligation to buy for €40m.

Koeman has now confirmed that the decisions were made to help the Blaugrana ease their financial concerns.

The Catalan giants needed to lower their surplus wage bill to meet the new La Liga wage cap.

He said: “An example of me wanting to help the club is the Emerson decision.

“I told the club if the money was important, they can sell Emerson because we have Dest, Mingueza and even Sergi Roberto.

“I didn’t stand in the way because I could have said: ‘He’s not moving’.

“Yes, it was the same [Griezmann], with the additional problem that it happened on deadline day, with very little time to find a solution.

“It was not great. Griezmann had a big contract and, if he left, it helped the club financially. For that reason, I accepted his exit.”

Our view:

Emerson was fancied to flourish for the Blaugrana, and it came as a surprise that they sold him in the same transfer window.

His exit may not be a huge loss with Sergi Roberto, Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza battling for the right-back position.

However, the same can’t be said for Griezmann, who was touted to become the leader of Blaugrana’s attack.

There were suggestions that he could form a quality attacking partnership with Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero.

Instead, he made a surprise and unexpected return to Atletico. Luuk de Jong was signed from Sevilla as a replacement.

De Jong is far from an ideal successor to Griezmann. It was probably a rushed signing to fill the void.

He does offer something different with an aerial presence in the box, but his La Liga figures are not convincing.

He has bagged just 10 goals from 69 outings. The Blaugrana’s attack is a far cry from a couple of months ago.

With no Lionel Messi and Griezmann in the ranks, it could be a tough campaign ahead in terms of a title challenge.

A minimum of a top-four finish could be the aim for Koeman, who appears likely to stay for another season.

Stats from

Read: Barcelona have total confidence in Ronald Koeman as manager.

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