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Barcelona or Atletico Madrid? The Antoine Griezmann dilemma

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Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

One year ago, Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann faced arguably one of the biggest decisions of his professional career.

It was widely reported that Griezmann had a lucrative transfer offer on the table from Manchester United. After a disappointing 2016/2017 campaign where Atletico finished without a trophy, the offer was tempting for Griezmann as he had a grand opportunity to move to the Premier League. After internal talks with those close to him, Griezmann decided it was best to turn down the offer and play out the 2017/2018 campaign.

Now fast forward to today, Griezmann is facing the same conflicting decision but this time around, Barcelona have popped up with a potential transfer deal.

Compared to last year’s drama, a transfer move at this moment would be detrimental to Atletico Madrid. Griezmann is coming off a successful 29 goal and 13 assist season in all competitions. His play was vital to Atletico’s Europa League-winning campaign as he finished with six goals with two of them coming in the final.

Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

If Griezmann ends up leaving, Atletico would have a tough time replacing his value and production. Diego Simeone emphasized the importance of playing a 4-4-2 with Griezmann and Costa up front. They were successful in large part due to Griezmann’s ability to play off the ball and drop back to become a playmaker in space. There are not many strikers available that can do what Griezmann has been successfully able to do in Simeone’s system.

With transfer prices at an all-time high and a lack of top forwards available, a Griezmann transfer move could drastically change the complexion of Atletico’s transfer plans.

The one covincing motive for Griezmann to stay would be to establish his legacy with Atletico Madrid. Griezmann had a front row view of the grand spectacle over the weekend with Atletico Madrid giving Fernando Torres a final goodbye. Seeing how Atletico fans treated a club icon like Torres could only motivate and encourage Griezmann to follow in Torres’ steps in becoming the next Atleti legend.

If Griezmann stays, he not only has the chance to cement his legacy with Los Rojiblancos but could potentially become the team’s all-time best player. If he scores just 61 more goals to become their all-time leading scorer while also winning a couple of more trophies, he would make his mark as Atleti’s all-time best player.

Now if Griezmann decides to ultimately leave Atletico and complete a move to Barcelona, he has an extraordinary opportunity to flourish as a player.

Playing alongside the creative playmaker that is Lionel Messi would bring the best out of Griezmann. Regardless of the formation, Griezmann’s ability to create chances on the counter, as seen in his perfect assist to Costa against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-final, is something that is needed at Barca.

Barcelona is the team where players come to win and elevate their game to the next level. In the case of Griezmann, he has the opportunity to shine with the world’s best players. The quality of his play would only improve with the potential to become a consistent 30+ goal scorer per season. He can play up front as a striker or move out wide and play as a winger as he did during his early years with Atletico Madrid.

Stay and become an Atletico icon or leave to become an all-time great?

With both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid hoping for a resolution before the start of the World Cup, the decision is expected to come very soon.