Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team laughed with Julio Salinas, Pep Guardiola’s Barça was delighted by Dani Alves and Ronald Koeman’s team has Antoine Griezmann (Mâcon, France, 30 years old). “It’s like Alves, he’s always in a good mood, he makes jokes, he generates complicity between the different groups. He is a person who adds to the coexistence of a changing room ”, says a Barcelona employee. Raised under the command of Xabi Prieto at Real Sociedad, the forward is close to young people. “He spends a lot of time in the French group, but it is normal to see him converse with Araujo, Riqui or Ansu. It has helped them a lot in their integration ”, add the same sources. Having overcome the initial hostility with Messi – thanks to the good relationship of his partners, before confinement it was common for them to share family dinners – Griezmann is the perfect friend in the dressing room. He shows his face when nobody wants to talk after the games and he even gave a Louis Vuitton bag (a brand that sponsors him) to each of his teammates at Christmas.
Griezmann’s problem is not in the dressing room but in the field. The forward has 14 goals in the 42 games he has played this season. An average of 0.33 per encounter. To his statistics, we must also add 11 assists. And he is the second top scorer for Barcelona, behind Messi (29). But Griezmann does not finish starting. After the transition season – “in a year and a half at Barça I had three coaches”, he defended himself last November in an interview with Jorge Valdano – the former Atlético player does not justify the 120 million euros of his clause, plus 15 million for a right of first refusal by Saúl and Giménez, nor has he come close to erasing the void left by Neymar. In the two classics of the season, for example, he started the games on the bench.
Griezmann’s signing was a bet by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu. The manager had been determined to sign the Frenchman even though he was not the priority of the sports management, much less the favorite of the locker room. The new board of Joan Laporta does not want to know anything with Griezmann. “He never performed as expected from a player who cost 120 million. Furthermore, in the position where Griezmann performs best, we already had the best player in history ”, explains a manager. Barça, however, still do not know what will happen to Messi’s life after June 30. For now, many kisses and hugs between the captain and Laporta, but the future of 10 is still in the air. “If Leo stays, we should transfer Antoine,” they say from the Ciudad Deportiva.
It will not, in any case, be a simple operation. The Frenchman is second in the salary ladder of Barcelona with a salary close to 18 million net per season. A salary affordable to very few clubs in Europe. The second problem is the pending amortization of his signing: at the end of the course, Barça will have 72 million to amortize. That is, if they do not want to lose, add more losses to the exercise, they should transfer to the French for an amount greater than what remains to be amortized.
In the budget for the 2020-2021 academic year left by the Bartomeu board, transfers of 88 million euros were planned to balance the accounts. If they do not want to get rid of the young talents, the Barça club will have to look at the players with a market such as Coutinho, Dembélé and Griezmann. “It will be a complicated market, as was the previous one. The positive thing is that there is already light at the end of the tunnel and that there are two large windows such as the America’s Cup and the European Championship ”, they say from the sports area. Barça wants to put Griezmann on the market. In the environment of the French, however, they do not want to know anything about moving from Barcelona: “He has a contract. Absolute tranquility ”.