by M. Carmen Torres
It seems incredible to think that the presence of Antonine Griezmann in the Barcelona starting XI is not guaranteed. This is even more troubling given the Frenchman is the club’s third most expensive signing, with his place in the line-up against Real Madrid in doubt.
Griezmann was rested against Ferencvaros in the Champions League, which hints that he may be in the Barcelona side later on Saturday, but even so, coach Ronald Koeman sowed seeds of doubt on Friday.
So far this season Greizmann has participated in four LaLiga Santander matches, and started in all of them. In three, he operated on the right flank, a position in which he isn’t used to or comfortable with. In the defeat to Getafe, he swapped positions with Lionel Messi and moved to a false nine role.
Despite that, the former Atletico Madrid man failed to perform at a level expected and in all the matches thus far, has been well of what we know he can do. This makes it even more difficult to find a place for Griezmann in the Barcelona side.
Last season wasn’t the best for the forward, and although he rarely played as a central striker, he almost always operated on the left side at the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, in this campaign, he hasn’t yet completed 90 minutes, nor has he scored, or given an assist.
Griezmann is an important player for Barcelona, with the club declaring him non-transferable in the summer, and is valued by Koeman. However, the coach isn’t scared to give minutes to other players, even if they are youngsters.
During Friday’s press conference, Koeman repeated that he doesn’t think of a player’s age when picking the team, he only looks at performances in training and in matches. As well as, clarifying that Griezmann is just another player.
As a result, the Dutch coach still has trust in the Frenchman, but also has alternatives in Trincao, who was excellent against Ferencvaros, and even Ousmane Dembele. But should Griezmann be left out of the Clasico, it would be another bombshell in the dressing room.
Not many people will say 2020 has been a good year, but in particular it has not been one for Griezmann, in a sporting sense. Over the last 10 months, he has scored just two goals in LaLiga Santander. One against Villarreal on July 5, and the other against Getafe on February 15, before the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last season was his first at the Camp Nou, and that added to the fact he wasn’t played in his best position is taking a toll on the highly sought-after French striker.