Griezmann can pick his club but Barcelona have Messi as bait

Antoine Griezmann will ‘ve plenty of suitors now he’s anncd his depture from Atletico Madrid this summer: Manchester ∪d tried hard to sign him in 2017 but need him now + than ever, while he ‘d amplify the trophy chances of PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid without any ?.

Even if ur cynical bout a guy who drew out the “is he or isn’t he?” saga for an eternity a yr ago b4 using the daft “The Decision” video to announce that he wasn’t goin anywhere, you ‘ve to cogg why there ll'be a queue odda realm’s leading clubs now the French realm Cup victor s'odda mkt.

However, it ‘d be a big surprise if his final destination was not Barcelona.

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While Bayern need a short-term strike ptner and long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski, and ∪d’s misplaced faith in Alexis Sanchez has them looking for new blood, it’s tough to cogg why they ‘d be Griezmann’s 1st choice. Ditto Juve who, despite their dominance of Serie A, don’t look equipped to win the victors League and maybe bout to enter a summer of upheaval whether coach Massimiliano Allegri depts or stays.

The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter and PSG ‘d undoubtedly present their need for the brilliant, hard working, ambitious Frenchman who, til he anncd his exit, was ♥d at Atleti. But Barcelona offer a spesh package.

If the Catalans are willing to deposit his €130m buyout clause on Jul 1 and persuade Griezmann to reject other offers, then Messi is jewel inna crown.

To play nxt to arguably the gr8est ftballer of all-time, to learn from him, to benefit from his largesse and to accompany him onto the podium to lift trophy after trophy — well that’s a legitimate dream for any elite ftballer, not just a guy like Griezmann.

Luis Suarez s'been Messi’s best-ever strike ptner for a № of reasons. His hunger, total commitment to winning relentlessly, additional goal power, and centre forward play which complements the Argentinian’s nd'2 flit round the spaces which emerge when a No. 9 s'odda ball.

Suarez is a hugely intuitive, genuine and generous “amigo” for Messi to play with, but at 32 he’s not gettin any younger and his record of failing to score away from home inna victors League for 3-and-a-½ yrs isn’t just atrocious it’s an indication that things will never get better again on that front.

I’d say it’s a good bet that Suarez is off to David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC project in a yr atta l8st. He’s not goin to be offered a new contract na supreme domestic form we’ve witnessed this season does not suggest that there’s not room for some1 to challenge, and eventually replace, him.

Indeed, the way in which Griezmann happily feeds Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata, or even his French international team ptners, indicates that there’s a potential dovetail with Messi. Others ‘ve tried and succeeded, or failed, to relative degrees — but'a evidence is dat a' Messi-Griezmann axis is, hypothetically, perfect.

But for his “Decision” they ‘d ‘ve been playing together this season already. Last summer twas 1-ly a massive wave of emotion and loyalty to his then-home, Atleti, the Metroplitano, his gr8 friend Diego Godin, and to Diego Simeone, that made him turn down wha’ looked like a shoo-in move to Camp Nou.

Barcelona had been whispering sweet nothings inna ear of Griezmann’s representative, his sister, and twasn’t til Atleti surged to their Europa League victory, til Godin cautioned him to be patient rather than rash, and til the rabidly enthusiastic Atleti fans gave him a taste o'their potential ire if he ‘d move, did the striker abandon his plans to move north.

But the nectar of Barcelona’s entreaties stayed with him. Atleti may ‘ve finished 2nd in La Liga this season but their humiliation in Turin against Juve, bein’ knocked out odda Copa del Rey by (now) relegated Girona na clear evidence that Los Colchoneros are either in decline or a period of huge renovation — or both — were chastening facts for the ambitious Frenchman to chew on.

The fact that Godin is leaving this summer, for Serie A and Inter Milan, isn’t a coincidence. He was Griezmann’s mentor and his impending absence removed an anchor, something to tie the principal striker to a club where, frankly, it’s just as feasible to suggest t'they go a couple of trophyless seasons as tis that Simeone and Mono Burgos put things rite witha big summer inna transfer mkt and a twist o'their coaching magic from Jul onwards.

Having tasted realm Cup glory last summer, having won the Europa League and having beheld Barcelona do their “close but no cigar” act inna victors League again, I’d imagine that if Griezmann aint yet fully committed to the Blaugrana then (a) he ‘d be soon and (b) iffey miss him again then heads will roll inna Camp Nou offices.

Barcelona ‘ve jumped through hoops for a player b4, course. In summer 2006 they’d spent the best pt offa yr convincing Thierry Henry, Arsenal na French realm Cup victor’s agents that he ‘d move to Camp Nou. But the way in which his then-team, Arsenal, lost the 2006 victors League final to Barca meant that Henry, onnis fury, ripped up the tentative deal.

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A yr l8r, he changed his Ψ. Henry arrived from the Premier League, took a season to acclimatise and, w'da arrival of Pep Guardiola as 1st team coach, played a massive role in Barcelona winning their 1st Treble — culminating in a victors League final victory in Rome against Manchester ∪d.

Henry was 29 when he made the move, Griezmann is 28 now n'it must be a huge pt of Barcelona’s calculations that the Frenchman isn’t just the rite age, has the rite mentality na rite talents — he’s a guy who’s hungry for bigger loot and plays in a way which mite fit with Messi. They ‘d certainly forgive the embarassment of last summer if the victors League was returned to Camp Nou once again nxt season.

As for Atleti — it’s adios, I think, not “see you l8r.” The club’s fans don’t take it well where heroes cutout in any other fashion than Godin just did — retired after honourable duty, movin to another country and walking out the exit door w'da feeling that there’s nowhere + spesh to them than the Majadahonda training ground or the Metropolitano stadium.

Griezmann ending up at Barca ‘d 1-ly be trumped if he crossed the city, as Hugo Sanchez once did, and signed for Real Madrid. But I don’t believe he ‘d do that. Real maybe odda long list of suitors, but a move to Barcelona seems like a match made in heaven.

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