The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann’s potential destinations next season.
Considered not only one of the best forwards but one of the best players in the world till no more than a year ago, Antoine Greizmann has seen some rather turbulent few months since moving to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid.
After chasing the French striker for more than a year, Barcelona finally got their man in 2019, having activated his release clause of €120 million. A transfer involving Josep Bartemou cannot go down without controversy, however.
The first problem with this move was the absolute disapproval of the Camp Nou faithfuls. This stemmed from an incident one year ago when the 29-year-old decided to make a mini-documentary where he would announce his final decision, between staying at Atletico Madrid or moving to Barcelona.
The world expected him to set forth his decision of moving away from the Spanish capital. Spoiler Alert: he decided to stay, causing Barca fans to hold a grudge against Griezmann, and rightly so.
The second dispute that came up was regarding the Frenchman’s release clause, where Atletico argued that Barcelona had not paid the correct amount which was need to terminate his contract.
They released a statement saying that Griezmann had moved to Camp Not before the 1st of July, and hence, his buy out clause was at €200 million, and not the €120 Barcelona paid for him. This was soon dissolved, and Bartemou ended up spoiling yet another club’s relations with Barcelona.
Despite registering 8 goals and 4 assists in 26 La Liga games, Griezmann’s season has been rather disappointing and inconsistent. That mostly comes down to the fact that the role he prefers playing does not exist at Barcelona.
However, at the age of 29, he is at the peak of his career and is still among the best players in the world. There have been conflicting reports from various sources, either saying that Griezmann is being forced out as part of a squad overhaul, others saying that he is bound to stay.
The Hard Tackle now examines potential destinations for the World Cup winner, if he indeeds decides to move, and what would be the best next step in his career.
Assessing the transfer situation
Arsenal are one of the wildcards that are reportedly interested in securing the services of Griezmann, and have been handed three ways that will help them pursue him, by no other but Barcelona themselves. And apparently, according to transfer insider David Ornstein, failure to reach Europe’s elite competition meant Arsenal missed the chance to bring Griezmann to the Emirates in 2017.
However, Arsenal are not in a financial position to 1. afford Griezmann’s transfer fee of €100 million or 2. his high wages, even if they are somehow able to land him for a lower price. Moreover, the Barcelona forward ruled out signing for Arsenal, ever, way back in 2017, as he revealed in his autobiography.
Transfer Likeliness: 3/10
Is Arsenal the right club?
Under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have deployed a 4-2-3-1, using Alexander Lacazette or Eddie Nketiah uptop, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left wing, while Gabriel Martnelli or Nicolas Pepe have occupied the right flank. The spot just behind the striker is usually taken up by Mesut Ozil.
However, the German is in the final phase of his career and cannot keep up with the Premier League’s demands. This is the exact position Griezmann plays for France, and a role very similar to the one he played with Los Rojiblancos.
Despite the tactical fit, it is highly unlikely Arsenal will be able to offer Griezmann Champions League football. It is possible that they don’t even make the Europa League, and because of that, they will not be able to get the Frenchman to sign for them.
Approval Rating: 5/10
Assessing the transfer situation
Manchester United’s interest in Griezmann is not new. They have been in the market for the World Cup winner since early 2016, and were very close to securing his services in 2017, before a deal failed to materialise.
There have been rumours linking the 29-year-old to the Red Devils, who have the financial power to push for this transfer if necessary. However, Griezmann’s age will be an obstacle for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is determined to complete the squad overhaul using young players. Another problem that will persist is United’s lack of Champions League football.
Transfer Likeliness: 6/10
Is Manchester United the right club?
Solskjaer, much like Arteta, prefers a 4-2-3-1. For the most part of the campaign, United’s gaffer has used Jesse Lingard in the hole, whose main job is transitioning the ball between midfield and attack. Lingard pulls defenders towards him by constantly roving between lines which allows players like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James to make off the ball runs in empty spaces.
While Lingard does this successfully, he lacks the vision and ability to play the final pass, and that is why he has been replaced with Bruno Fernandes in the lineup. The Portugese arrived at Old Trafford in January, and has been nothing short of sensational since. He won the Player of the Month award for his first month in England with 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 starts.
Griezmann occupies the same space as Bruno, but the club lacks a creative outlet beyond him. And this is where the signing of the ex-Real Sociedad sensation could be useful. Moreover, Griezmann could always take over the job of the striker in that team easily, replacing his compatriot Anthony Martial.
Approval Rating: 7/10
Assessing the Transfer Situation
Inter Milan are going through a major transition period under Antonio Conte. They have brought in 16 players over 2 windows in the 2019-20 season including Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Diego Godin, among others.
They have been linked with Griezmann as part of a reported transfer exchange involving Lautaro Martinez’s move to Barcelona. Moreover, they might be well within their reach to get his signature in a straight deal, since they are in the running for the Serie A title for the first time in several years, and Champions League football is more or less confirmed.
Transfer Likeliness: 7/10
Is Inter Milan the right club?
Over the course of the season, Conte has stuck with a three-man backline but has used different variations in attack. His default team set up is five midfielders including two win-backs and three central midfielders, apart from two strikers up top, The other formation the Italian boss prefers is a 3-4-1-2, where he has used Eriksen or Sanchez in that role behind the strikers.
Either way, Griezmann slots in nearly perfectly in Inter’s team, either as the second striker alongside Lukaku or in the hole behind two centre forwards. He would be absolutely incredible in a league as slow as Serie A, and could dominate most teams.
In addition, Lautaro Martinez’s move to Barcelona seems inevitable at this point, and Bartemou would want to get rid of one of the highest earners at the club if he’s bringing in one.
Approval Rating: 8.5/10
Paris St. Germain
Assessing the Transfer Situation
PSG and Barcelona could do each other a favour by taking Neymar and Griezmann off of each other’s hands respectively. Infact, they have been linked with a swap involving the aforementioned players and some additional cash that the Blaugrana will have to pay.
The club from the French capital has an abundance of financial resources to afford Griezmann’s wages, as well. Moreover, they offer a chance at winning more than one title every year and are slowly getting into pole position to win the Champions League as well.
Transfer Likeliness: 8.5/10
Is PSG the right club?
PSG offer Griezmann first-team football, like almost any other club in this list, but they also give him an incentive to play in his home country, which he never has.
This would also be the Petit Prince’s chance to reunite with several countrymen, including a certain Kylian Mbappe. They both have shared the pitch, including the 2018 World Cup where their understanding was nearly telepathic. The duo used to constantly engage in one-twos, building the attack slowly and eventually releasing more forwards.
Tactically speaking, Griezmann fits in seamlessly into Tuchel’s oddball formations. The German coach prefers a 4-2-3-1 or more recently a 4-2-2-2, where he’s played Neymar and one of Pablo Sarabia or Angel di Maria behind Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.
The French forward could play almost any role of the four in this team. Moreover, his versatility means he’s more of a threat than Icardi when paired with Mbappe. Most importantly, though, Griezmann boasts of work ethic like no one else in PSG’s forward line, something that Thomas Tuchel longs for in his players.