Should Barcelona Be On Standby Again? Why Atletico Madrid Star Antoine Griezmann Must Not Delay His Next Move
Another Champions League disappointment for Atletico Madrid has sparked suggestions that star forward Antoine Griezmann should complete a move to Barcelona.
This time a year ago, the smart money was on Griezmann joining the Catalan giants and the Spanish papers fully expected the move to go ahead after he helped France lift the World Cup.
But he decided to stay in Madrid, showing the kind of loyalty which endears him so much to the Atleti fans. It was also a sign of Los Rojiblancos' own European ambitions that despite living in the shadow of a team that managed to lift the trophy three seasons running they had managed to retain such a prized asset.
Time is not on Griezmann’s side here if he is to pursue his wish to join one of world football’s super powers so he will not be allowed to flirt with Barcelona with quite so much frivolity. If he saw out his existing Atletico Madrid deal, he’d be 31 and the chances of such a move would have passed him by.
Barcelona would have to pay in the region of £100million for the 27-year-old who is still contracted to Atleti until 2023. Not a bad return for a player who cost €30million from Real Sociedad.
But should Barcelona have their heads turned by a player who led them on a merry dance last summer? Or should they be looking at the younger end of the market - as they did to bring Frenkie de Jong to the Camp Nou from Ajax for next season?
Contrary to popular belief, Lionel Messi will not play forever and Luis Suarez can only have one or two more seasons remaining at the very top. Philippe Coutinho has failed to match his Liverpool form since his big move from Anfield and nobody would be too surprised if he was jettisoned in the summer.
Griezmann’s strike rate is impressive but not earth shattering. He has 91 goals in 171 appearances for Atleti since 2014. At international level, he has scored 26 goals in 67 games. This record may well be down to his versatility - often called into action as an old style winger or an advanced midfielder.
Atleti’s dismal performance in the second leg of Tuesday’s round of 16 clash with Juventus showed the huge gap between the sides in terms of ability to win things. Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing hat-trick proved the difference between the teams and once again Atleti were left with the prospect of another season without silverware.
Griezmann might like to think he's in the same bracket as Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar but only a move to a global superpower like Barcelona will prove it.