We always think of transfers as simply being a one off payment for a player to make a move, but every deal is different with various clauses and options inserted.
We don’t see this too often anymore but there are examples of European clubs making down payments on talented youngsters from South America, seemingly with the intention to ensure a team keeps developing a player for them rather than immediately selling to the highest bidder.
It appears that Barcelona had some sort of agreement with Santos for former wonderkid Gabriel Barbosa, however he didn’t go to the Camp Nou and his break in Europe came at Inter Milan instead.
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It doesn’t look like Barca had complete control of his destiny, but Santos had to allow them to match any offer that came in. Clearly that didn’t happen as the case ended up in court, and the Brazilian side will need to pay €2.9m to the Catalan club:
Nueva victoria judicial del Barça.
El TAS le da la razón en su conflicto con el Santos y obliga al club brasileño a pagar 2,9 millones al Barça.
Santos vendió a Gabriel Barbosa “Gabigol” al Inter sin informar al Barça.
— Sique RodríguezGairí (@SiqueRodriguez) December 10, 2020
Gabigol’s career didn’t take off in Europe with Inter or with Benfica so some will consider him as a failure, but he’s become even more prolific since returning to Brazil with Santos and then Flamengo.
He’s still only 24 and perhaps he did make that move to Inter Milan far too early, so hopefully he gets another chance to prove himself now that he’s matured into a more rounded player.