When Antoine Griezmann finally signed for Barca, a year too late it must be said, the player would surely have been aware that he would need to earn his place.
Though there are many instances where new players walk straight into their new club’s starting XI immediately upon signing, in the Frenchman’s case the roll call of talent already in Barca’s front line was always going to take some shifting.
To his credit, given the rough ride he probably expected from players and supporters alike, Griezmann has gone about his business in the right way.
Even Diego Simeone recently alluded to it, saying in an interviewing that his former player “will enter the group, step by step, calmly.”
On Messi and Griezmann playing together:— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) October 11, 2019
Simeone: “It is a problem for Valverde now, I have my own. He's a guy that doesn't talk much but gets involved a lot. He will slowly enter the group, step by step, calmly, He is a happy guy and I don't have doubts he will do well. ”
El Cholo also had words of praise about the Frenchman’s character, going as far to say how humble he remains, despite being a World Cup winner and one of the best players in the world.
In fact, Simeone painted a rather different picture of the player than the one the media would have us believe is a more accurate representation.
That there appear to be no hard feelings between the pair speaks volumes, and he did go on to say that Ernesto Valverde will have a tough task sorting out the current problem of where to play him.
Clearly, Griezmann is far too good to be bench warming for too long, but without upsetting the equilibrium in the dressing room, there’s not an awful lot Valverde can do.
Griezmann on the bench as Dembele comes in— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) October 6, 2019
Messi, of course, remains untouchable at this point, and has already shown that he’s happy to be rotated for the benefit of the greater good.
Ousmane Dembele appeared to give the front three more balance when he played against Sevilla, but given that he will be missing again for the next two games, it does at least afford his countryman a further opportunity to stake his claim for permanence.
Stationed out on the left wing isn’t doing Griezmann any favours though.
He’s doing his best in a position that doesn’t come naturally to him, though Barca really aren’t getting value for money - and it’s hardly the player’s fault.
Jorge Mas said Inter Miami expects to sign a LaLiga player and confirmed talks have already been held with Luis Suarez, David Silva and Edinson Cavani...https://t.co/mijfxqoxq9— AS English (@English_AS) October 10, 2019
There’s talk of Luis Suarez moving on at the end of the campaign, with Inter Miami having been mentioned as a possible destination.
The Uruguayan does have dry spells in terms of goals, but in finishing terms he’s still up there as one of the best.
Griezmann isn’t a finisher per se, and has never been prolific, but centrally might well be where we end up seeing his best work.
In an age where immediacy is King, however, waiting patiently for his chance might not be the worst decision in the world.
It does beg the question as to whether the club were just buying him for the kudos rather than actually thinking about how they were going to integrate him, mind.
But frankly, that’s not his problem.