This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Antoine Griezmann was Barcelona’s big summer signing and one that seemed set to finally dethrone Luis Suarez. But so far, that hasn’t happened and with the recent reports from AS suggesting the Blaugrana are on a hunt for a new striker, the Frenchman’s role in the squad might be brought into question.
On the chalkboard
Suarez is already 32 years of age and for all his brilliance and undeniable pedigree, he will need replacing sooner rather than later.
And with the summer incorporation of Griezmann, a player who was scoring goals for fun back with Atletico Madrid, that problem seemed to have been solved entirely.
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After all, in the 257 games the Frenchman played for Rojiblancos, he managed to score 133 goals and assist further 50 in the process. But the more important piece of information lies in the actual position he was scoring those goals in.
For all the 257 games Transfermarkt actually have in their database for the 28-year-old, Griezmann played 121 as the team’s centre-forward, scoring 73 goals along the way.
By all standards, he looks like the perfect choice to replace Suarez, and yet, according to reports from AS, Barcelona are still hunting for a new striker.
A worrying sign
So far, Griezmann has played a total of nine games for Barcelona since arriving from Atletico in the summer.
He has scored three goals and assisted two across all competitions in the 2019/20 campaign.
Those numbers are decent but the problem is actually in the way the Frenchman is currently being utilised. When we take a closer look at the position Ernesto Valverde seems to prefer Griezmann at, we realise he’s actually being played as a left-winger.
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According to Transfermarkt, in those nine games they have in their database for the 28-year-old, he was actually a winger in six of those games, scoring one goal in the process.
And completely unsurprisingly, he’s performed better in the three games he actually played as a centre-forward, scoring twice and assisting twice as well.
Just that sample of games is proof Valverde might want to transform Griezmann into a winger and the reported interest in a new striker could also solidify that statement.
Was Griezmann a waste of money?
If that turns out to be true, it could cast a huge doubt over his transfer in the first place since his tally across different positions clearly suggests the Frenchman doesn’t really prefer that wide role.
Let’s wait and see if he can adapt to the situation and overcome this challenge.
For his sake and the club’s, let’s hope that he can.
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