Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has given his backing to misfiring striker Antoine Griezmann but simultaneously talked up reported transfer target Memphis Depay in a wide-ranging interview with Mundo Deportivo.
Griezmann has struggled to settle in at Barcelona since joining from Atlético Madrid in the summer of 2019, and has scored just two goals in seven league appearances thus far in 2020/21. For Koeman, however, his attitude has never been in doubt.
“You need confidence and scoring goals will always be the thing to give you that confidence,” he said. “It cannot be said that he doesn’t work. He works a lot, but perhaps he’ll feel freer in the team when he spends more time with them and operates consistently in the same position. I think that any player working as hard [as he is] to change things will in the end get to where he wants to go.”
In the same conversation, however, Koeman talked up the ability of Depay, the Lyon forward he coached with the Netherlands and who would be a direct competitor to Griezmann should he sign for Barcelona as is rumoured. Aged 26, Depay has five goals and three assists in ten Ligue Un appearances so far this season and is of a different profile to the Frenchman – quicker and stronger.
“First of all, it’s not the time to talk about players who aren’t here,” he said. “For me that isn’t good. It’s true that his name has come out and he has played every game as a nine for my Dutch team. Everyone can have their opinion, but he’s not here [at Barcelona] and we will see what will happen in the future.”
Barcelona travel to Madrid after the international break to take on Griezmann’s old side, Atleti, in what will be a huge game should the Catalans be seeking to get their title bid back on track.
Featured image courtesy of Eurosport.