Football Features

The main contenders to sign Antoine Griezmann now Atletico Madrid exit is confirmed

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 13:35, 15 May 2019

Antoine Griezmann is going to leave Atlético Madrid this summer.

Despite turning down a move to Barcelona last summer and signing a colossal new contract at the Wanda Metropolitano, the Frenchman has decided that he will be seeking a new challenge in his career and announced this via the club’s official twitter.

This doesn’t come as a surprise given Atleti’s this season’s disappointing form despite the most stacked squad in club history – culminating in a humiliating capitulation against Juventus in the Champions League and then in La Liga’s title race just days after that.

But the question is, where could the fantastic Frenchman end up if he does leave Diego Simeone’s army?

Dream: Barcelona

The Blaugrana have long been linked with Antoine Griezmann. They spent the vast majority of last season openly courting and pursuing the French forward. Then at season’s end there was a documentary where everyone expected Griezmann to announce his departure from Atleti (having just secured them the Europa League) only for him to turn around and decide to stay. Joining Barcelona would be a huge step up for Griezmann but one that he would relish; playing alongside such supreme talents as Leo Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembélé. He would thrive in an open attacking side playing anywhere across the front line, affording the Blaugrana the chance to replace Luis Suárez.

Dream: PSG

When it comes to dream moves for French players, it’s impossible to rule out PSG. The Parisians have bottomless pockets and enjoy utter dominion over the French division, so league titles are guaranteed and domestic trebles are always a possibility. That appeals to any player, and the fact that he would be able to play alongside Neymar and compatriot Kylian Mbappé would be a huge bonus. Griezmann’s main goal now is to win the Champions League, that lines up perfectly with PSG and together the two could chase their dream.

Who do Squawka Suggest Griezmann join?

When it comes to picking a dream option, PSG makes more sense for Griezmann as a player. Whilst he can play as a striker (and has done before to great success in his career), so would be able to replace Suárez, the Frenchman’s main role is a free-roaming playmaker who drifts infield from the right half-space. And at the Camp Nou that would conflict with, y’know, the best player on the planet.

PSG, meanwhile, could accommodate him with greater ease. Sure, it would mean the sale of Edinson Cavani but that would be a price the Parisians would be willing to pay to secure another one of the French World Champions. Griezmann could easily slot into is spot on the right, with Kylian Mbappé moving up-front and Neymar mirroring Griezmann coming from the left. This would give PSG an even more fearsome attacking trio and make Griezmann a national hero as he helped lead them to trophies.

Both options are obviously dreams, however. Griezmann looked to have missed his chance with Barcelona and only the club’s desperation following their Champions League exit could give him the chance to play alongside Leo Messi and mentor Ousmane Dembélé. And whilst PSG could sign Griezmann, with Cavani as well as Angel Di Maria, they are well-stocked for forwards and are in need of some full-backs and midfielders. It’s unlikely they would spend whatever FFP will allow them on a position they don’t need.

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Realistic: Manchester United

Before (and after) he was linked to Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann was linked with Manchester United. His brother is a massive fan of The Red Devils and he himself has spoken about his affection for David Beckham-era United. The club have the money to bring Griezmann in and even pay him, and moreover there is a clear spot on the right side of their attacking trio (or as a no. 10 if they play the diamond) for the Frenchman to fill. Alexis Sánchez hasn’t worked out at all, United are a mess, and Griezmann could be their guy.

Realistic: Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich are about to end a massive summer of rebuilding, in particular they are about to wave goodbye to a decade of Robbery (i.e. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery) and will need a stud forward to replace their presence. Enter Griezmann. There would even be a huge plus because his current Atleti team-mate and compatriot Lucas Hernández is heading to Bayern this summer anyway (as is his other compatriot Benjamin Pavard) so why not join him and have the Bavarians double-dip in Madrid?

Who do Squawka Suggest Griezmann join?
Manchester United

Whilst Bayern is an attractive proposition, Manchester United have to be the choice here. Griezmann is exactly the kind of publicity-conscious footballer that would settle in well with United’s young, social-media savvy squad. Moreover his compatriots Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are already there, so settling in would be no problem even if he would basically end Jesse Lingard’s hopes of starting.

He’d make his brother very happy too. And, most importantly, Griezmann is exactly the kinda of devastatingly creative force in the final third that United lack. With him on the right (or in the hole) the United forwards would find themselves receiving the kind of service that would allow them to break packed defences down. Right now that’s United’s attacking weakness, but with Griezmann it would become a strength. He’d have to miss out on the Champions League for a season, but you’d figure that he’d be financially well-compensated for that and would relish the idea of being the titan that carried Manchester United back to relevance.

Wildcard: Chelsea

When it comes to wildcards for Griezmann, Chelsea are out there. They have been linked with him in the past and recently William Gallas has suggested he would be perfect for Chelsea. “He’s a very patient, diligent player who scores goals consistently. He would be perfect for Chelsea,” said the Frenchman. And of course, when Eden Hazard inevitably joins Real Madrid, the Blues will be in the market for a stud forward for the entire team to rotate around.

Wildcard: Real Madrid

There was a period a year or two back where it was rumoured that Antoine Griezmann would cross the Madrid divide and join Atleti’s hated rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu. That never materialised, but with Los Blancos about to undergo one of their most tumultuous summers in a long, long while – why not now? Obviously Madrid would have to execute Griezmann’s entire €120m buyout clause and it would be seen as a hostile takeover, and Griezmann would need a police escort on his return to the Wanda Metropolitano, but he would fit in quite well as one of the leading lights of Zinedine Zidane’s new Madrid.

Who do Squawka Suggest Griezmann join?
Real Madrid

Chelsea would be interesting (and he does look good in blue) but come on, even leaving aside the fact that Chelsea could well be transfer banned for the summer, a player as obsessed with status and recognition as Griezmann is could find no greater club than Real Madrid. Los Blancos will provide him with the platform and media profile he so desperately craves. He might finally win a Ballon d’Or!

On the field he’d fit in perfectly on the right of Zinedine Zidane’s front three, an ideal part of a new look attack featuring Eden Hazard, perhaps? He’d definitely get that fabled no. 7 shirt made famous by Emilio Butragueno, Raúl and Cristiano Ronaldo. But this has to be a wildcard because whilst Griezmann may be eager to save himself, he does feel a tremendous amount of affection for Atlético Madrid and so probably wouldn’t want to join their most-hated rivals.