If the 29-year-old is ever to realize his potential at Camp Nou, the Catalan club should take inspiration from the way they operate for the world champions.
He also secured a similar status at Atletico Madrid, where he played from 2014, but since his big summer move to Barcelona in the summer of 2019 things haven’t worked out.
During the club’s scruffy 2019-20 campaign, he scored 15 goals and added four assists in 48 games under two different coaches and struggled to justify his presence to such an extent that when football took off. restarted after the lockdown, he was equally absent from the squad. like inside. For a transfer fee of € 120million (£ 109million / $ 142million), the return was hopelessly poor.
He seems to have done no better after the summer revolution at Camp Nou. Leaving many members of the first team, including striker Luis Suarez, Griezmann might have expected a greater opportunity to shine under new boss Ronald Koeman, but the Dutchman placed him in a wide position. right that it does not promote.
Despite having started all three Primera Division games Barca have played, he has yet to complete one and has only gone well beyond an hour once. In terms of decisive contributions, he is awaiting both his first goal and his first assist.
“I’m sure he’s not happy with this situation,” said national team boss Didier Deschamps earlier this week. “I do not interfere with the use of my players at other clubs, whether at Barca or at anyone else. “Antoine is playing on the right at the moment. It’s true that Koeman said and told him that he didn’t understand that he was used to playing in a more central position.
Although Deschamps also stressed that Griezmann “has to adapt” to the role he is asked to play, Koeman has not understood why the player prefers to operate in a more central role needs to sound the alarm bells.
To that end, the United Nations League matches against Portugal on Sunday and Croatia on Wednesday set an important path for the 29-year-old to show he remains powerful in his favored position.
Three goals in his last four international matches prove that Griezmann can still be an effective weapon for France, although doubts have been expressed about his long-term ability to stay with the squad if his Barca struggles continue.
The emergence of 17-year-old midfielder Eduardo Camavinga may be a factor that benefits the striker. The prodigious Rennes youngster can offer the kind of balance in the midfield that will allow Griezmann to operate in a central role, and Deschamps, who was the man to deliver the message of the striker’s misfortune on the right, s ‘is committed to using it there.
“For me, he’s even more effective when he’s in the thick of the game, when he’s able to touch the ball a lot. In this position he also has the possibility to come and help in the midfield, ”said the coach. “He doesn’t have the ability to take the ball and beat his opponents on the wing like the others. He needs to touch the ball a lot and he’s smart in his movements.
France’s success under Deschamps was achieved by following the simple philosophy of playing their best players in their best positions, which allowed Griezmann to flourish. There might be other stars around him, like Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, but it is through the Barcelona star that the coin generally flows.
Indeed, for Sunday’s Nations League match against Portugal, he is expected to play a No.10 role behind Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, thus maximizing the potential of the three.
At Barcelona, on the other hand, he’s forced to compete with six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi for the keys to the side, and with that in mind he’s peripheral both metaphorically and physically in attack plans. by Koeman.
Messi should never be seen as a ‘problem’ but surely there has to be a way to harness the Frenchman’s talents alongside those of the Argentine.
The Dutchman, whose resources have been depleted by Barca’s inability to sign Memphis Depay from Lyon, another player who would thrive in a No.10 location, will need the smart and subtle striker working at his best to prevent the Real Madrid win another league title – and that won’t happen on the right wing.
Instead, he has to look for inspiration in the way Deschamps uses Griezmann. It helped France host a World Cup, and maybe it can help Barca win back La Liga.