No.9 role will suit Griezmann at Barca

Now that the transfer window has slammed shut again, clubs can get down to working with the players that they have available, for the next six months.

Barcelona were rumoured to be in the hunt for a striker before the end of the deadline, given Luis Suarez’s long-term injury.

However, with Ousmane Dembele on the way back from injury, and Antoine Griezmann arguably better in a No.9 role than out on the wing, one has to applaud the Catalans for keeping their wallets in their pockets on this occasion.Far too many times we see clubs panic buy, particularly late on in transfer windows, and Barca had their fingers burned recently with just that situation.

Signing Kevin-Prince Boateng was nothing short of a disaster, and yet former Villarreal striker, Cedric Bakambu, inferred on his social media that he was on his way to Barcelona on Thursday before the club pulled the plug.

Just like Boateng, and with the greatest respect, Bakambu is not a Barcelona type player, and his potential hire smacks of further disorganisation at board level.

When Diego Simeone played Griezmann centrally at Atletico Madrid, he was superb in the role.

As Barca fans have seen already, his movement is second to none, and the way in which he continually found space for himself for the Rojiblancos, even in congested penalty areas, spoke of a highly intelligent footballer.

Unable to show his true abilities whilst Suarez was in situ, it’s hardly revelatory that the French World Cup winner looks a completely different player in the Uruguayan’s stead.

Goals are beginning to flow, and his associative play with his team-mates is beginning to bear fruit too.

Opposition teams were getting wise to the Lionel Messi – Jordi Alba partnership, but with Griezmann now in the middle rather than blocking route out wide, he’s been able to draw players across goals with his runs, making the channels to the left-back a successful outlet once again.

Though the expectation is that as soon as Suarez is fit again – which may not be until next season – he will go straight back into the front line, it’s worth Quique Setien considering his options before making a final decision on how he wants his team set up in 2020/21.

If Griezmann excels in the role, and why wouldn’t he, then surely El Pistolero can’t expect to just waltz back in. A few egos might get bruised along the way but perhaps that’s what Barca are missing at the moment. Everything is just a bit too ‘comfortable.’

Over to you, Antoine.

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