Poor old Antoine Griezmann. What on the face of it was a dream move to Barcelona, has turned into a nightmare.
Against his old club, Atletico Madrid, earlier this week, the €120m man didn’t even get on the pitch until injury time.
That followed a cursory five minutes extra during the previous game against Celta Vigo, a period in which he was at fault for Celta’s late equaliser.In fact, looking back, nothing has ever really gone right where Barcelona and Griezmann are concerned.
In 2018, the Frenchman had courted the Catalans all summer long, leaving them with the distinct impression that he would be joining them after the World Cup, which his country ended up winning.
However, in a Machiavellian move, dressed up as a pseudo-documentary he dubbed ‘La Decision,’ Griezmann decided to stay with Atletico at the 11th hour.
That was his first mistake.
From a professional standpoint, Atleti were poor in the 2018/19 campaign, and so a year after biting the hand that was going to feed him, he had the brass neck to go cap in hand to the Catalans.
Perhaps sensing the commercial possibilities, Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board acceded to the transfer, with the wide man becoming the third €100m+ signing at the club after two more flops, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
What clearly hadn’t been given too much thought was where he was going to be played.
With Dembele fit at the time, it was more a question of shoe-horning the player somewhere, but like Coutinho before him, a square peg in a round hole doesn’t go – however good you are.
To give him his due, Griezmann has at least tried his best to adapt and work hard, but he just doesn’t fit the style that Barca want to play.
Plus hs influence has been incredibly diluted when you consider his form in his final couple of seasons at Atletico.
Which brings us to the present moment. With a tough game away against Villarreal to come on Sunday, it will be interesting to see if under pressure boss, Quique Setien, will be willing to give the Frenchman a start or at least a half.
If he doesn’t, then genuine questions have to be asked as to how long the player has left at the Camp Nou.
His assertion that he has no intention of leaving and will fight for his place will likely fall on deaf ears too, if Bartomeu wants to go out with a bang – his presidency ends in one year – and bring Neymar back.