Is Griezmann A Barcelona Target Again, Or Is He Manchester-Bound?6 min read
In the not too distant past, Antoine Griezmann was making a right old song and dance about the ‘decision’ on his future.
The contrived way in which the world eventually found out that he was to stay at Atletico Madrid certainly belonged on the stage, it was that theatrical. Barcelona’s Gerard Pique had a part to play, but that’s a story for another time.
Fast forward nine months and it appears that the Frenchman made the wrong decision, Spanish media reporting that he has already made himself available to potential suitors.
The Blaugrana were frustrated and angry with his conduct at the time, but he who laughs last and all that…
Ernesto Valverde’s side are currently 10 points clear of Atleti in La Liga, into another Copa del Rey final and still in the Champions League. All the things that Griezmann aspired to when putting pen to paper on his new deal with the Rojiblancos.
Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t stepped up when needed, and 2018/19 has largely been a disappointment for Griezmann on both a personal and collective level.
Funds needed for Atleti squad overhaul
Losing a two-goal lead against Juventus and beaten by Athletic Club to all but rule them out of the league race wasn’t in the script.
His new €20m a season salary has also caused problems in the dressing room, and with the likelihood of no trophies this season – save for the pretty meaningless UEFA Super Cup at the beginning of the campaign – the Atleti hierarchy are left looking at another shake up on the pitch in order to kick-start another drive for success.
Diego Godin will leave in the summer, and there’s a strong likelihood that Felipe Luis and Lucas Hernandez will follow. Defensively, Diego Simeone’s side will be shot to pieces.
Manchester United are reportedly leading the race to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.
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— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 19, 2019
Thomas Lemar hasn’t impressed, Saul’s release clause will be paid by Manchester City and Diego Costa may well make good on his promise to move to China. The Spanish-Brazilian is known to be particularly unhappy with the disparity in salary with his strike partner, and even if Griezmann were to leave it’s unlikely to satiate him.
Hypothetically, the only way the Madrid-based club would be able to raise significant enough funds to plug the holes left by those looking for pastures new, would be to allow the Frenchman to also move on.
If nothing else, this situation has forced the money men at the Wanda Metropolitano to look at themselves and re-evaluate when dishing out multi-million euro contracts willy-nilly. Simply put, in the current campaign Griezmann has come nowhere close to justifying their outlay.
Barca or United still keen?
It’s been alleged that his advisors have sounded out Barcelona again, no doubt believing that their 27-year-old client still has much to offer the Catalans. Their sheer brass neck is an affront to the Blaugrana who were left hanging out to dry last summer, but their move has come far too late.
In the unlikely event that Barcelona were to still be interested, there’s no chance they’d be willing to meet Griezmann’s release clause of €102m, especially when it’s believed that they can get one of Europe’s hottest properties – Eintracht Frankfurt’s 21-year-old Luka Jovic – for around half that.
What’s more, Ernesto Valverde wants a striker who is similar in style to Luis Suarez and the Frenchman clearly doesn’t fit that particular bill.
With Real Madrid not interested in his services either it really limits Griezmann’s options, however, Manchester United could offer him a lifeline of sorts.
International team-mates, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba, are already in-situ and would help Griezmann with any settling in period. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is an admirer, and with the Norwegian likely to be installed as United’s manager full-time, the Frenchman could well be his first big-name signing.
The Red Devils won’t baulk at the cost either and Greizmann’s skill set is complimentary to that which they already have.
Watch this space…!
Antoine Griezmann To Sign For Before 2nd September 2019: