The 28-year-old forward, Antoine Griezmann, is going to Catalonia after his previous club agreed to send the Frenchman for a transfer fee of 120 million euros, or 135 million dollars. This deal is set for five years with a disgustingly huge release clause worth 800 million euros, or 897 million dollars. There was a lot of tension between the two clubs leading up to this move. On top of them being league rivals, the rumors of Griezmann possibly leaving had been swirling around for the past few seasons. It was confirmed in 2017 with Atletico reporting illegal contact between Griezmann and the Catalonia-based club to FIFA.
Griezmann’s time at Atletico was filled with many accomplishments. During his five-year tenure, he dazzled fans with his creativity and scoring ability, with 94 goals and 31 assists. In that span of time he finished in the top 10 every year in both goals and assists.
In 2016, he won La Liga Player of the Year. In his international career he helped France to a second-place finish at Euro 2016. In 2018, Les Bleus won the World Cup with Griezmann picking up the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third best player. That same year he helped Atletico to a Europa League championship.
Griezmann brings versatility to Barcelona as he can not only play as a prototypical midfielder running an offense, but because of his scoring chops he can also slot himself in the forward position. This could take some pressure off Messi, whose role on offense has gotten progressively bigger the last few years. This could help cope with Luis Suarez’s steady decline, and the exodus of club icons Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Conflicts that may come from this could arise from Barcelona already having similar players in Ousmane Dembele and Phillippe Coutinho. Dembele especially is a promising young gun, who netted a combined 22 goals and assists last season. Also, because of the expenses tied to this contract, it makes it that much harder to get big name talent. Dembele and Griezmann occupying the same position may stunt Dembele’s future development. Another rumor involving the team is the likely return of Neymar, who’s been unhappy with his time in Paris. Though that situation seems unlikely, due to Barcelona already being strapped for
cash, Griezmann’s arrival to Nou Camp is a step towards elevating his status and overall brand image on the biggest stage. With Real Madrid recently nabbing Eden Hazard, the path to the Champions League trophy may take a detour through Spain.