With reports resurfacing of Antoine Griezmann’s dissatisfaction and potential departure from Atletico Madrid, numerous media outlets have begun linking him with some of Europe’s elite, including Manchester United and Barcelona.
While such rumours have been dismissed in the past, it seems that numerous fans are once again getting excited at the prospect of the World Cup winning forward coming to the Camp Nou. Unfortunately, one such transfer may cause more harm than good, as there is more at stake for Barcelona than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why a Griezmann transfer may not be beneficial to all parties concerned.
Firstly, Barca are already well-equipped up front, with Lionel Messi currently sitting atop the La Liga top scorer’s chart, Luis Suarez following closely behind in second place with a respectable 18 goals and Ousmanne Dembele seeing his fair share of the action with eight goals.
While Griezmann has performed admirably with 12 goals, the Blaugranes are currently the top scoring team in La Liga, with a colossal 73 goals, and are thus not in need of another target man. Although Griezmann has also provided eight assists in all competitions, he will most probably not be as effective in support for Barca given the Blaugranes’ playing style.
Typically, Barca’s main attacking supply line stems from the wings, which is reflected by Messi’s 12 La Liga assists, Jordi Alba’s eight La Liga assists and Sergi Roberto’s six. While Griezmann may be able to provide some support as Luis Suarez currently does, this benefit would be treated as more of a bonus than a necessity.
Another issue that would arise from a Griezmann transfer would be a failure to address the current gaps in Barca’s lineup. With Philippe Coutinho looking likely to depart the club, Barca are in need of another winger as back-up on the off-chance that Messi or Dembele are unavailable for team selection. Malcom is not yet a player of a world-class magnitude, while other attacking midfielders such as Kevin-Prince Boateng and Arturo Vidal are better suited to a central position.
A Griezmann transfer would only see Barca add squad depth to positions that are already well catered for rather than address urgent concerns. Furthermore, it would be impractical to have both Suarez and Griezmann, two world-class forwards, compete for one position where one player would consequently land up sitting on the bench. This would surely lead to some form of dressing room drama, not to mention result in a waste of talent.
Above all else, Barca are in the midst of negotiating a few more urgent transfers, with Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt looking likely to join team-mate Frenkie de Jong at the Blaugranes by the end of this season. To divert focus to Griezmann may lead Barca to losing sight of what should be their priorities, namely patching up a shaky defence and boosting their options in the midfield, as well as dip into a transfer budget that could be better allocated elsewhere.
Griezmann remains a world-class talent and an undisputed key player for Atletico, however this does not mean that he will be an ideal fit for the Barcelona setup, particularly when there are more pressing issues to address at present.