Former Spain, Athletic Bilbao, and Real Betis manager Javier Clemente has taken to social media to deliver a damning assessment of FC Barcelona's signing of Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite.
The Blaugrana learned during the course of the winter that two senior attackers, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, will be unavailable for the rest of the season which led to the club going all guns blazing for a striker in January, which they failed to do. Real Sociedad's Willian Jose, after being linked with a potential swap to Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur, was a reported target for Barca as well.
Despite the closure of the transfer window, the Catalan club were granted permission to recruit a forward as both their star players have been ruled out for several months. This led to the defending La Liga champions activating Braithwaite's release clause and bring him in as a backup center-forward to Antoine Griezmann, who could now see more time in central areas after Suarez' injury. The most impact of this deal and the timing of it, though, is Leganes.
The 19th-placed club in La Liga Santander this season have accumulated exactly as many points in 24 league games this season, having lost 13 of them. Braithwaite was their highest goal-scorer (6), joint-highest assist provider (2) and made the second most number of league starts for the club (21).
Current Basque Country manager Clemente took to Twitter to give his two cents on the deal and it is unlikely to make good reading for the Blaugrana faithful. He said,
"This thing about signing players from the same league is a way of weakening the teams that fight for the same objectives of you with money."
He also refers to the transfer as "a diplomatic and legal way of buying matches."
Leganes will not be allowed to sign a replacement unlike the Catalans and now have to fight their relegation battle without the services of their star forward.