Martin Braithwaite is living the dream. Out of nowhere, just months after leaving Middlesbrough in the Championship after a less than average spell at the Riverside he is now linking up with Lionel Messi as a fully-fledged Barcelona player at Camp Nou.
While he will no doubt be delighted to be joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, others are, quite rightly, angry at the injustice of the move.
For Barcelona have been granted permission to sign an emergency striker after injuries left them with just three forwards until the end of the season (one of them is Lionel Messi, we just don’t know how they’ll cope.) but what about Leganes?
While the Catalan giants have been allowed to dip back into the transfer market weeks after it slammed shut with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez sidelined, likely for the rest of the season, the relegation strugglers they have plucked Braithwaite from have not been afforded the same pardon.
Where is the fairness in that?! Barca, gunning for the title and up against Real Madrid at the top of the table, permission to make an emergency signing. Leganes, in the bottom three and fighting for survival, not allowed. Seemingly they’ve been punished and come out worse for the bad luck which has befallen the Barcelona frontline.
Top scorer Braithwaite, a Norway international, netted six goals in 18 matches and his threat in front of goal would surely have boosted their chances of staying up. Managing just nine strikes in 40 matches for Boro, he’s not exactly been prolific but his presence was needed.
Southampton flop Guido Carillo is one of the frontmen tasked with keeping Leganes afloat now but he is yet to score a league goal this campaign. Barcelona this week paid Braithwaite’s release clause and that was that for Leganes. Powerless. The La Liga powerhouse have given the 28-year-old a four-and-a-half-year deal and slapped a £250m released clause on the frontman.
Leganes chief Martin Ortega told reporters on Thursday: “We consider that there is a regulation that is unfair, from which Barcelona has benefited.
“The one who is damaged by this is Leganes. We want to raise our voice. The damage is enormous.
“We do not understand the current regulation in any way. That a team, because a long-term player is injured, may unilaterally transfer that problem 100 per cent to Leganes.'
“Barcelona knows the damage it can do with the signing of Braithwaite. We believe that there is a regulation that is not fair. FC Barcelona has benefited from that regulation.
“The injured party is Leganes. The damage is already done. Whether or not they give us the option to sign, it is difficult to repair the damage. Of course we are hurt.”
It is so unfair and has opened an unwelcome can of worms for Spanish football.
Braithwaite, the one person smiling following this saga, is expected to make his debut against Eibar on Saturday and what a moment that will be for him. And yes, football narrative strikes again as, of course, Barcelona host Leganes in March. This one is going to rumble on.