Griezmann clinging to Barcelona future
Despite reports that the club will look to offload him this summer, Antoine Griezmann wants to stay and prove himself at Barcelona, according to Radio Catalunya.
The Frenchman opened the scoring and looked to be much more comfortable in coach Ronald Koeman’s new 3-4-2-1 system. However, the French striker made it clear that he is not concerned with the manager’s approach, but with the confidence that is shown in him. And although he has been identified as a possible outgoing transfer to finance future signings, Griezmann is clear that his future is in the Blaugrana shirt.
As reported by Catalunya Radio programme, Tot Costa, Griezmann is very comfortable at Camp Nou; leaving is not an option he is considering and he remains calm as far as his future is concerned. He has three years left on his contract and although the club, according to the same report, considers him as one of the candidates to leave this summer, the 30-year-old forward wants to stay.
Griezmann left Atlético Madrid for Barcelona in 2019 for €120 million, but so far he has failed to live up to his superstar price tag. Messi remains King, but the ‘Little Prince’ has not managed to fulfil his role as Neymar or Luis Suárez did in the past, or as Ousmane Dembélé manages to do a little more with each passing game.
In an interview with The Telegraph, former Barça sporting director Eric Abidal acknowledged that it was "the president" (former President Josep Bartomeu) who "decided to sign Griezmann". "I believe 100% that we could have signed Neymar again," added Abidal. Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov also added greater weight to the balance of criticism. "When Griezmann is on the pitch, Barça plays with ten,” was the former Romanian striker’s damning assessment.
With the arrival of new president Joan Laporta, Griezmann has been placed on top of the list of tasks for new general director Mateu Alemany. Deciding on the Frenchman's future, with Haaland's goals bouncing around Laporta's mind, is one of the main priorities of the club's new project under this new direction.
Laporta hell-bent on Haaland
A possible swap-deal with Paulo Dybala appeared in the Italian press not long ago. Dybala is at a low point at Juventus and his renewal talks have gone on forever at this point. In the past, Griezmann was wanted in Turin, while Dybala was a desire of Can Barça, which is why Juventus, aware that Barcelona’s plans for the Frenchman’s future are not in line with those of the player himself, have appeared as a supporting actor in the drama and decided to test the waters.
However, Laporta wants to go all out for Haaland, the big name that was closely linked with his election campaign. Every time the Norwegian cyborg appears as a potential signing, it fuels the rumours surrounding Griezmann and Felipe Coutinho, the two players designated to sew part of the club's economic hole and who would yield the largest financial return. Let’s not forget the possibility that Kun Agüero could arrive this summer, which adds even more fuel to the fire.
Griezmann determined to convince Barcelona
However, despite the club’s plans, Griezmann is eager to prove himself to Barcelona and Laporta, according to Catalunya Radio’s report. As we said, the 3-4-2-1 with which Koeman has raised Barcelona’s game at the moment is benefitting him. In his last two league games, in the more infield role as the double playmaker alongside Messi, he has found the net twice, against Huesca and Real Sociedad. In the previous five games, straddling between the left wing and the centre of the attack, he didn’t score once.
He now must keep up his form with France during the international break. There, nobody doubts him. On his return, he will have to continue chipping away at convincing everyone at Barcelona that the star around whom part of the club’s future should be built, arrived from Atlético Madrid a little over a year and a half ago.