La Liga giants Barcelona are one of the premier destinations in world football, and they can usually sign any player they want. However, this summer they were thwarted by fallen Italian giants Inter Milan, who snapped up one of their transfer targets from under their noses.
Even though the Blaugrana had a first refusal option on him, Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa signed for Internazionale in a €30 million deal. Barca allege that Santos failed to inform them on time about the offer from Inter, and as a result the Catalan club couldn’t match their offer.
The first refusal option meant that Barcelona were given the right to match any offer for Gabriel Barbosa, better known as Gabigol, before the club entered into negotiations with a third party. Barca secured this agreement during the multi-million deal that brought Santos and Brazilian sensation Neymar to the Camp Nou in 2013.
The Catalan giants have reportedly been mulling legal proceedings against Santos for a breach of the first refusal agreement ever since the summer transfer window was closed. They have now decided to seek a whopping €7.9 million compensation from the Brasileirão club, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The Brazilian club maintain that they informed Barcelona about the offer from Inter well in advance. However, Barca allege that they didn’t receive all the information regarding the offer, that the details were sent just 24 hours before the sale and that they had not given their consent to the move.
This long drawn out controversy could have detrimental repercussions for the relationship between the La Liga giants and Santos.
Gabigol broke into the Santos first team as a 16 year old, and has since gone on to score 56 goals in 154 appearances for them. The striker’s technical ability and style of play has prompted comparisons with his compatriot Neymar.
There were a number of European clubs interested in the Brazilian this past summer. Serie A champions Juventus had reportedly tabled a bid for the 20-year-old, while Premier League clubs Leicester City, Arsenal and Chelsea were also keen on him.
However, Gabigol chose to join struggling Serie A side Inter Milan. The 20-year-old striker is the latest in a long line of Brazilian talents to sign for Inter Milan, following in the footsteps of Jair, Ronaldo and Adriano.