Antoine Griezmann has hit fine form recently, meaning those Barcelona links are back. But is it the right move for him?
Essentially, good teams have good players, but elite teams have elite players. Antoine Griezmann, is an elite player. The France international has been consistently one of Atletico Madrids best players in recent seasons.
It has been reported in some news outlets that an £86m deal has been agreed between Barcelona and Atletico. Although some may be forgiven in noticing that this information has been revealed days before the clubs meet.
Griezmann is a hardworking individual who possesses immense vision, technique and finishing. He is also very versatile, being able to play as a front 2, a lone forward or even behind the striker as a supporting player.
Working for the team, one of Griezmanns strong points, is something that Barcelona will look at with joy. Despite the individual brilliance of the likes of Lionel Messi, Luiz Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho, the team ethic instilled in the culture at Barcelona is what makes them work as a unit.
But, if Griezmann is to make the move to the Camp Nou, where would he fit in? Valverde has set his teams out in a flat 4-4-2 formation. With Messi and Suarez leading the line. The wings are occupied by 2 of Iniesta, Vidal, Dembele and Coutinho. Paulinho and Busquets seemingly have the centre of the park in their grasp.
Griezmann will expect a starting berth if he is to make the £86m transfer, but would he oust the likes of Suarez and Messi? No. He might get more joy in terms of minutes if he were to be deployed in a wide midfield role, but that is not where he truly wants to play.
At the age of 26 he is approaching his prime years as footballer, will be wanting to contribute to the team as much as he can before he begins to decline. Not only that, but it will be imperative to the Frenchman that he wins trophies. With his chances at Barcelona a lot higher in terms of silverware, will his contribution be as much as if he achieved the feat with his current Atletico team?
Diego Simeone prides his teams on their work ethic and determination all over the pitch, and Griezmann is the living embodiment of that philosophy. Making the move to a more expressive, albeit succesful team, may not be ‘the right fit’. You only have to look as far as the recently departed Ferriera-Carrasco to see how much that means to an individual.
Whilst the spotlight may not be on Griezmann this coming Sunday, it will be interesting to see how he fares, knowing that his performance could almost be an audition for his next move. Whether he likes it, or not.