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Leganes Exec: 'Unfair' Martin Braithwaite Barcelona Transfer 'Hugely Damaging'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

LEGANES, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 02: Braithwaite of CD Leganes reacts  during the Liga match between CD Leganes and Real Sociedad at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on February 02, 2020 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Leganes director general Martin Ortega has labelled Barcelona's transfer of Martin Braithwaite "unfair" and said it's "hugely damaging" for the relegation-threatened club.

The Catalans announced his capture on Thursday, using his mandatory €18 million buyout clause to add the Dane as an emergency injury replacement. Barcelona received permission to do so outside the transfer window because Ousmane Dembele suffered a long-term injury.

Leganes had no choice in the matter and can not sign a replacement of their own, something Ortega thought isn't right:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

"We would understand this rule applying if there were a mutual agreement between clubs, but the current rules go against equality between clubs. We'll do whatever it takes in a situation that causes irreparable harm"

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

"The player has been a gentleman and a professional. Yesterday he trained completely normally, knowing he could get injured. We'd like to thank him, his sporting performance has been immense."

The move means Leganes have lost their two best attacking weapons in a little over a month, with Youssef En-Nesyri joining Sevilla in January. The chances of Los Pepineros surviving the relegation battle seem slim at best as a result.

Ben Hayward of the London Evening Standard thought it was deeply unfair on the La Liga minnows:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Rules are rules and Barça have not broken any here, but this allows one of the world's richest clubs to bring in a player (having shipped out two forwards in January), while a team with one of the smallest budgets in LaLiga are powerless to prevent it.

Spanish football expert Sid Lowe noted Leganes took aim at the rule itself and not the Blaugrana:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Worth noting something here: Leganés not blaming Barcelona. The rule is unfair; that's where their focus is.

According to Ramon Fuentes of Sport, La Liga are already looking at amending the rule to exclude buyout clauses in the future.

Under the current rule, Spanish clubs can ask permission to sign an injury replacement outside the transfer window. Any target has to be a free agent or already registered in Spain. Because buyout clauses are mandatory in La Liga, there's no need to negotiate with clubs if the team is willing to pay the full amount.

That creates a major issue for La Liga's smaller clubs. Sports writer Samuel Marsden explained how players and agents have no incentive to agree to a big clause if their goal is to take a step up in the future:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

@Mallon7Niall players/agents have to agree them as well I believe. Often they will hope Leganes etc a stepping stone so won’t want massive clauses that can trap them.

Braithwaite's €18 million clause at Leganes hardly presented a problem for Barcelona, who promptly inserted a massive €300 million buyout clause into his new deal.

The Catalans parted with Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez in January without signing replacements, while an injury to Luis Suarez meant they were short on depth. Dembele then suffered a hamstring injury shortly after the transfer window closed, further reducing their attacking options.  

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