Why Barcelona are doing the right thing by deciding to sell Antoine Griezmann
According to Catalan publication Sport (h/t Express), Barcelona have decided to put up star forward Antoine Griezmann for sale in the wake of their UEFA Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Barcelona suffered their worst defeat in over 50 years when they were thrashed 8-2 by Bayern in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Following the humbling defeat, the Catalan giants are now looking at a major squad overhaul as per the report, with Griezmann also facing the axe.
Griezmann started out at the academy of Maconnais in France, before moving to the Real Sociedad youth setup in 2005. He rose rapidly through the youth ranks and made his first-team debut in 2009. He went on to rack up 202 appearances for the club, in which he scored 52 goals and assisted 18.
The Frenchman joined Atletico Madrid in 2014 and grew into one of the most potent forwards in Europe during his time with the Rojiblancos. In five years at the club, the 29-year-old bagged 133 goals and 50 assists in 257 appearances before joining Barcelona last summer.
The 29-year-old has been capped 78 times by the France national team, with whom he won the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Griezmann’s struggles at Camp Nou
Griezmann’s high-profile £107m transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona hasn’t gone as per plans for either party. The Frenchman was brought in to supplement Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in the attack.
However, the 29-year-old has struggled to make the impact that was expected of him. A return of 15 goals and 4 assists from 48 appearances in all competitions is an impressive enough tally. Nevertheless, for the majority of the campaign, Griezmann has looked like a fish out of water at Barcelona.
Griezmann was not a part of the starting lineup for some of Barcelona’s most important games of the season. He was benched against Sevilla, his former club Atletico Madrid and Celta Vigo. This was at a time when Barcelona were behind Real Madrid in the La Liga title race. The Frenchman was also relegated to substitute duties for the quarter-final humiliation against Bayern.
Time to end the alliance?
A change of management, now that Quique Setien is gone, might help turn Griezmann’s fortunes around. Barcelona, however, must look at the fact that they need to strengthen their squad significantly if they are to challenge for top honours next season.
But with transfer funds severely depleted because of the pandemic, the club must sell in order to buy. And offloading a player like Griezmann, who has struggled to deliver, would help them in that regard.
The Frenchman, at 29, is in his peak years and should command a large transfer fee despite his troubles at Camp Nou, with Manchester United and PSG interested. Given his age, another poor season would mean his value would nosedive further.
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It would be fair to say that Barcelona’s big-money gamble on Griezmann has failed miserably. The Frenchman has hardly look settled at the club and has failed to deliver in crunch moments. With Barcelona in need of a major overhaul, selling the Frenchman would be a step in the right direction. His sale would allow them to fund moves for other transfer targets in the ongoing window.