BARCELONA

Barcelona: Griezmann's future, top of Mateu Alemany's agenda

Griezmann turns 30 this month with Barcelona looking to bring in a striker. Laporta may decide to sell him - in spite of his 12 goals and 11 assists.

What to do with Antoine Griezmann will be the first big decision that Mateu Alemany must make as Barça General Director. The French forward turns 30 later this month, and while his figures are decent enough (12 goals and 11 assists in 38 games), he has struggled to deliver in big games. He hasn't scored in any of the five top level games this season (he failed to find the net against Juventus, PSG, Real Madrid, Atlético and Sevilla) - his decisive goals have been in LaLiga against Athletic and against Granada in the Copa del Rey. That's not really enough from a player who cost 120 million euros and who wanted to "eat at the same table as Cristiano and Messi".

Two years on from his arrival at Camp Nou, Griezmann's big decision won't be another documentary, but making a choice about his future. Barça will be going all out to sign Erling Haaland. Whether they get him or not, one of the conclusions drawn from the PSG tie was that the team desperately needs a striker who comes up with the goods on big European nights. Griezmann could find himself sacrificed when Barcelona eventually find one.

Handling his departure however, would be a delicate operation. The player feels comfortable within the squad and he is well-liked. After the return leg in Paris, he posted a message of optimism. "We'll be back next year, I am at the team's service whether it's for 10 minutes for 90". Griezmann sees himself continuing so it is not going to be easy for Mateu Alemany to persuade him otherwise. For a long time, Griezmann was on Manchester United's agenda - and PSG's. His dream, however, was to play for Barça and he ended up realising it. But he has yet to fully lock into the team. No one doubts his class or his effort, but there is a feeling that he should be giving a little more. They look to Griezmann to give the team a lift but too often he is not capable. Frenkie De Jong has come good in his second season but Griezmann has only shown fleeting glimpse of what he can do. And that could have an impact on his future.