Griezmann form alerts Europe’s best

His hat-trick on Monday evening against Elche has only sparked more rumours and speculation on the 22-year-old's future, but Griezmann's stock has been rising for more than a season now.  Born in the small city of Macon, central France, Griezmann started his career playing for local side UF Macon.

The wideman has had to overcome many setbacks since he started his career. Having been rejected by many bigger teams whilst on trial, the age-old assumption from those who cast judgement on players was applied to him; 'too small, not strong enough'. Despite the rejections he kept going and during a trial at Montpellier in 2005, impressed scouts from Real Sociedad in a game with Paris Saint-Germain. The rest, as they say, is history.

Following a successful trial with the San Sebastian club, he was offered a youth contract and despite early concerns from his parents about their boy moving to Spain, they let him pursue his goal. The winger worked hard in the youth team before earning his break with the first team in the 2009-10 season, and Martin Lasarte's faith in the youngster paid off as Griezmann, with remarks of too small and too weak ringing in his ears, took to Spanish football like a duck to water.

The 5’9 winger scored on his professional debut and went on to make 39 appearances, scoring six goals in his breakthrough season, during which the side were promoted back to La Liga.

In April 2010 he was already drawing interest from Europe's top teams, but signed his first professional contract with La Real. Playing week in, week out and clocking up seven goals in his debut season in the top flight at such a young age was impressive, but he wasn't to be a one season wonder. Consistently fit, Griezmann is a regular in the Basque side and has increased his goal scoring tally each year, showing he is getting better and better with age.

This season has been a stellar campaign so far for the Frenchman. Playing Champions League football has only developed his talent and just past the halfway mark in the season, he sits third in the list of top scorers in La Liga with 14 goals in 19 games, with four of those headers. Not bad for a winger who is too small.

The former France Under-21 international has dismissed the transfer speculation, saying he is happy and focused at the Anoeta but with his continuing form it seems only a matter of time before one of the big clubs swoop. Still only 22, he has clocked up 159 appearances and his best years are yet to come.

Griezmann has stunning raw pace that would scare any full-back, and he is technically gifted. His goals contribution is excellent for a winger, consistently hitting seven goals a season or more, whilst laying on assists, especially while not being in a so-called glamorous side.

A move this window could be too soon, as he remains key to Real Sociedad's Champions League bid this season, but it looks increasingly probable that Griezmann will move on in the summer; it's just a matter of where. His price could rise further if he maintains his form and earns a call-up to the France World Cup squad. There is sure to be a clamour for his signature.