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BARCELONA

Debate remains open over where Griezmann's best position is

Barcelona's summer signing remained mum when asked about Valverde's positioning of him on the right as the debate remains open over his best position.

Debate remains open over where Griezmann's best position is
LLUIS GENE AFP

"Good question," was the response Antoine Griezmann gave when Jordi Grau of TV3 asked if his performance might improve if he was sent out to the right hand side of Barcelona's attacking three. "There is one manager, one tactic and that's it," he continued. 

The questions didn't stop there. Ernesto Valverde was also asked about the French attacker's best position. "He's a striker," he said. "I see him well on the left."

Football people sometimes complain with the questions they are asked in press conferences. But this debate is about pure football. And it's a debate that started as soon as Griezmann was linked with Barcelona. He started as a winger at Real Sociedad but in the last few years, he played as a striker or as a second striker behind the reference points - Costa at Atlético and Giroud in France. He was always going to have to change in order to avoid a clash with Messi and his ideal position. Left, right, striker? He has avoided that clash because the number 10 position hasn't even been brought up.

Griezmann playing on the left for Barcelona

Griezmann played as a striker while Suárez was injured or absent during the tour of Japan and for the Betis, Osasuna and Valencia games. But once the Uruguayan returned, he was shunted out to the left. It's true that he has a tendency to drift into the middle in search of chances but he looks cornered on the left and subdued. 

He might have more luck on the right but Valverde is trying to avoid cramping Messi's style once the Argentine is healthy to play in every game. 

Valverde is relying on Griezmann's obedience. He is a player who knows what is needed in any situation and he does well to vacate the left-hand side to allow Alba or Firpo break into attack. He can link well with attackers and midfielders too as Barcelona ask for more of a collective effort right now that his individual brilliance.

The question is whether a €120 million signing is obliged to offer more regardless of the position he plays in attack. The feeling is that parking Griezmann on the left is not maximising his attacking strengths and until Barcelona do manage to figure out how to best utilise him, that debate will remain open.

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*Update 2 de octubre de 2019