Barcelona have purchased Antoine Griezmann from rivals Atletico Madrid for 120m Euros, after his buyout clause was reduced from 200m Euros on 1st July. This transfer was in the making as Griezmann had been repeatedly been linked with Barcelona in the past year. However, he chose to stay with Atletico for one more year.
Now that he has joined Barcelona, Atletico have accused Griezmann and Barcelona of “disrespect”, claiming a deal was agreed as early as March. They plan to pursue the matter further, by making it known that they plan to take the Spanish champions to court. They intend to receive a total of 200m Euros, as they claim a deal was in place before 1 July, when the required amount to be deposited dropped to 120m. Barcelona, meanwhile, have set Griezmann’s buyout clause at 800m Euros. (setting a buyout clause is a requirement in the Spanish league.) They claim that they started talks with Griezmann regarding a deal on 4th July.
A statement released by Barcelona said, “With his arrival at FC Barcelona, the Frenchman takes another step forward in his career with the goal of consolidating his place as one of the best players in the world”. However, questions remain, on how their manager, Ernesto Valverde, plans to fit him in with all the talent at their disposal. Among their attacking talents (excluding Griezmann) are Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Malcom among others. Also, Griezmann plays in a position similar to Messi, which leads to another problem as Messi will not take too well to being dropped.
Lionel Messi has made known his desire to “bring the beautiful trophy back home”. It seemed merely like a formality when they were 3-0 up at the Nou Camp. However, their dreams came crashing when Liverpool made a 4-0 comeback against them.
Problems aside, Barcelona have probably assembled a squad that is capable of winning the Champions League?. If players like Coutinho can find form, and Griezmann is successfully integrated into the starting XI, Barcelona have a chance to go all the way. The arrival of Ajax wonderkid Frenkie de Jong will further help them dominate in midfield, and the club have also brought in defenders Mike van Beijnen and Marc Cucurella, though the latter has been loaned to Getafe. Jasper Cillessen has followed him on the door out in a swap deal of sorts, with Valencia goalkeeper Neto joining to be second fiddle to first choice keeper Marc –Andre ter Stegen.
To answer the question, however, the attack was never a problem for Barcelona. Griezmann has probably been brought in to fill the gaping hole in the No. 10 position once Messi leaves(he has got an offer from Inter Miami once his contract expires and he has not, strictly, ruled out going there), or even retires. Their defence is not bad, with Samuel Umtiti unable to get a starting place for a while, with Clement Lenglet taking his place. However, some fine-tuning is required, and they certainly shouldn’t have conceded the fourth goal from the corner against Liverpool in the Champions League. They are also reportedly open to selling Umtiti in this transfer window, for a fee of around 35m Pounds. If they can replace him is another matter, with Gerard Pique occasionally being scrutinised.
If they can sort out their defence, they’re surely in the mix for being Champions of Europe. Sure, the Champions League contains elements of luck, and Liverpool surely had it (they could’ve been eliminated from the group stage if not from a crucial last-gasp save from Alisson).
By: Wendell D’Souza