Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhy Has Antoine Griezmann’s Barcelona Move Been Dragged Out? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Why Has Antoine Griezmann’s Barcelona Move Been Dragged Out? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Why Has Antoine Griezmann’s Barcelona Move Been Dragged Out?

It’s all About the Money


It was probably the worst kept secret in football but it’s now gone from cast-iron rumour to reality: Antoine Griezmann is a Barcelona player.

In normal circumstances, it would be yet another case of head-shaking from the non-football fraternity about how anyone could be worth 120 million Euros to kick a football around. Except these aren’t normal circumstances and that’s not what’s being debated here.

The controversy in question here all stems from the fact that it wasn’t that Barcelona made an offer which Atletico Madrid accepted. Rather, Griezmann had a buyout clause of 200 million Euros a few days ago which went down to ‘just’ 120 million Euros on July 1, with Barcelona stumping up the cash last Friday, July 12.

Atletico aren’t complaining about the fact that they had to let him go once that price was met; they knew what the situation was. The issue is that Atletico feel the deal between the player and Barcelona was done back in March and if that was the case, they should be entitled to the full 200 million rather than the ‘cut-price’ 120.

In other words, Diego Simeone’s side think that Griezmann and Barcelona were in cahoots all along and conspired to play the system so that the player got his dream move and that Barca got him at a bargain, so to speak, cleverly avoiding an extra 80 million Euros through the timing of their business. It will now become one for the courts to rule on.

Why were Barca so Desperate to get their man?


Barcelona have always prided themselves on having a star-studded attack who not only score lots of goals between them but also play dazzling football. That wasn’t so much the case last year.

Philippe Coutinho, who can operate either in midfield or in the front three, had a really poor start to his Barca career. As a player who at times seems to lack confidence and can be emotionally frail, the  with the genial Brazilian.

Ousmane Dembele, who  in the Champions League semis which would certainly have put the tie to bed in the first leg, isn’t necessarily in Barca’s good books, either. That chance may have cost them the Champions League title whereas his injury record has been poor, playing just 46 league matches in two seasons.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are as good as they’ve ever been but they’re both 32 now. They’ll need to be rested for a few more games a season over the next couple of years, so they’re fresh for the big ones. Having Griezmann around, who at 28 is considerably younger, gives Ernesto Valverde far greater flexibility when it comes to rotating his forwards.

There are two other aspects of Griezmann’s game Barcelona will look forward to: his ability to play in any of the three positions upfront and his work-rate when it comes to defending. Something that in Suarez has diminished over the years, something that in Messi is practically non-existent.

Griezmann’s Dream Move

The French forward will feel the time had come for a new challenge. He’ll also feel that Atletico missed the boat when losing that penalty shoot-out in the final of the Champions League in 2016 and that Simeone’s side were capable of getting the better of either Barcelona or Real Madrid when it came to the title race, but not both.

There may also have been a feeling that  – hard pressing, emphasis on defending, protecting leads rather than going for the jugular- were exhausting and frustrating in equal measure for such a talented, creative and attack-minded player.

So where better than Barcelona to have the chance to play the sort of attacking football that so few teams can pull off?

Perhaps the biggest draw of all though was the chance to play alongside Messi and to lesser extent…Suarez. It’s easy to forget that footballers, like people in other ‘normal’ professions, want to improve their game, learn from the best, evolve as players.

There was only so much he was going to learn by staying at Atletico and a huge amount he could improve by playing alongside a man with five Ballon d’Ors to his name to go with just about every other individual prize in football.

And with all due respect to Atletico, it’s not Barcelona when it comes to tradition, history, glory or… their chances of winning the Champions League, something Griezmann is yet to do.

 markets give you the chance to bet on whether Barcelona will improve on their 87 points from last season, or fall short. Few would argue that with Griezmann on board, their chances of bettering that won’t be improved.