Barcelona spent a good fortune in the summer on talented youth players who will ensure their dominant streak continues into the next decade.
Denis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti, Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer were among the arrivals. Usually reliant on their La Masia academy for first team talent, Barcelona opted to splash the cash.
However, the Spanish giants did miss out on one signing. That of Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa, who joined Inter Milan from Santos.
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Not only were Barcelona interested in signing the exciting Brazilian forward but they had an agreement that dates back to 2013 to sign him.
A leaked document, brought to our attention by Sport but released by UOL Esporte, suggests that Santos broke a deal they had arranged with Barcelona that gave the Spanish champions first refusal on the 20-year-old, who has been dubbed the new Neymar.
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The clause was written into Gabigol’s contract in 2013 and gave Barcelona three days to match any offer Santos received for the striker. However, the leak shows that Santos didn’t give Barca three days to match Inter Milan’s €29.5 million bid.
Unimpressed with Santos’ handling of the situation, Barcelona have asked the Brazilian club for all documents relating to the transfer and are ready to report Santos to FIFA.
What the fax says
The fax, sent from the Brazilian team to Barcelona on August 29, reads: "We hereby refer to Section 4 of the Agreement dated Jul. 25, 2013, to grant Barcelona the first refusal option on the transfer of the football player Gabriel Barabosa Almeida for the amount of €29.5 million," the fax reads.
"In accordance to the aboved referred Section 4, Barcelona would have a three business day period to manifest its intent to exercise its preferential rights.
"Santos FC received the offer from a third party club yesterday, Aug. 28, and as Barcelona is fully aware any international transfer must be completed no later than Aug. 31. For such urgent situations, we kindly ask Barcelona to manifest their intentions to execute its preferential rights until Aug. 30, 5am (Santos times) or 10am (Barcelona time)."
This isn’t the first time Santos and Barcelona have undergone a controversial transfer. Neymar appeared in court earlier this year over allegations that both clubs hid the true value of his move to the Camp Nou in 2013.
If Santos wasn’t a hotbed for emerging talent, Barcelona probably would have cut ties by now.
Is Gabigol the next Neymar? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!