Antoine Griezmann has endured a difficult time since making the switch to Barcelona in the summer. After having been used to being the sole star player at Atletico Madrid, the Frenchman appears to be struggling in the presence of names like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Yet, it is these names that are reportedly preventing Griezmann from settling at the club.
The Frenchman was a €124 million capture from Atletico Madrid, but he has only contributed four league goals to the team. This is a paltry return for a player who has watched Barcelona score 28 league goals so far in the 10 games. It was going to take something special from Griezmann to emulate the likes of Suarez and Messi. He has just received a tough introduction and a wake-up call.
Fans have not failed to notice the lack of any chemistry between Griezmann and the other Barcelona forward names. Suarez and Messi did not seem to show interest in bringing Griezmann into the play, and this lack of team effort has had an impact on the club’s form so far this season. Gerard Pique, though, has dismissed rumours of a rift within the squad. According to Goal.com, he said:
“Here, we magnify everything very much. Leo and Grizi get along, the same as Leo and [Ousmane] Dembele get along, or Leo with Pedro or [David] Villa. It’s good. With Luis [Suarez and Messi], they are almost like brothers.
“Just because he doesn’t get along [with Griezmann] like he does with Luis doesn’t mean they get along badly.”
Incredibly, Griezmann admitted at the start of October that he barely speaks with the Argentine superstar. The lack of a great relationship between the pair comes as a major surprise considering that Griezmann is now earmarked as a future replacement for Messi. Yet, Messi is likely to have a number of reasons towards his antagonising attitude towards Griezmann.
It is no secret that Messi wanted Barcelona to sign Neymar at all costs. Neymar was handpicked by Messi as his natural successor at the Camp Nou. Yet, a move could not materialise even after several weeks of negotiations and Griezmann is seen as a crucial factor – not because of its own making. Griezmann became one of the first signings for Barcelona this summer and the Catalan outfit decided to do away with negotiations by activating the player’s release clause. Griezmann was also made one of the best-paid players at the club. Even though he is earning significantly less compared to his days at Atletico, Griezmann is still putting a lot of strain on the club’s finances with wages close to €350,000 per week.
The arrival of Griezmann significantly tightened Barcelona’s spending – in terms of transfer fee and wage bill. Hence, it was always clear that the club were not in a position to bring Neymar. Messi may have a little grudge over this situation. Even though players are unlikely to admit the same in public, all things point to a hostile atmosphere.
This situation has not been helping Barcelona this season. Even though we may be back at the top of the table, things have certainly not been great. As the likes of Lionel Messi and other names return to form, Barcelona can only hope for better things. Any ill feelings between members of the forward line-up should be burnt in order to build new bridges – now that Neymar is not coming.