Only a year ago, Antoine Griezmann was making a real song and dance about not going to FC Barcelona.
With the hope of winning trophies at Atletico Madrid now virtually evaporated, the Frenchman has shown the true meaning of his loyalty – by jumping ship at the first opportunity after being awarded a record-breaking deal.
And where should he decide he wants to end up? The same team he made every effort not to join during the last summer window.It’s rumoured that his expected hire by the Blaugrana has split the dressing room.
There’s one school of thought that believes in turning down the opportunity to join Barcelona once, he’s automatically burnt bridges and shouldn’t be afforded what essentially amounts to a second chance.
Some dressing room heavyweights, however, believe that the World Cup winner is precisely the type of player who can get Barca back over the line again, in Europe particularly.
It’s true that Griezmann is one of the world’s top five footballing talents, that’s never really been in question.
Over the past few years he’s been Atletico Madrid’s talisman, and a big reason why they were often on the cusp of success.
In the right team, which would appear to be Barcelona if everything we hear coming out of Griezmann’s camp is to be believed, he will flourish.
Perhaps the one big question mark that Barca supporters have is where he will fit in.
Ostensibly a striker, he’s not of the Luis Suarez variety, so the suggestion that he should play off of the Uruguayan isn’t without merit. However, he often plays in the same areas that Lionel Messi does, and that could be problematic.
As we’ve seen with Philippe Coutinho for large parts of his career at the Camp Nou, play him out of his natural habitat, and he’s half the player he can be.
Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board can ill afford to have another big-name signing not making the cut, particularly as they’ll be forced to spend over 100 million euros for his services. Certainly not cheap for a player that’s already 28 years of age.
Countryman, Ousmane Dembele, also needs to step up, but with such an array of attacking talent already at the club, one has to also pose the question as to whether Barcelona do actually need Griezmann.
Is this just another chest-thumping exercise from the Barca board? Signing players because they can, not because they need to.
They did it with Arda Turan before the Coutinho hire. Might Griezmann make up an unwanted hat-trick?