In almost every summer transfer window, there is one huge saga that dominates headlines and drags on interminably, with every development or stumbling block dissected like some kind of animal organ in biology class. As you will probably be aware, it was Paul Pogba’s turn this time around, with his eventual return to Manchester United worthy of a world-record fee. It could so happen that the next giant transfer rigmarole involves another Frenchman who happens to be a good friend of Pogba’s – Antoine Griezmann.
“I called [Simeone] before extending my contract and he confirmed he was staying,” the Atletico Madrid forward told Telefoot. “For me, it was important to know that, being at a club with a Coach who trusted me. I’m happy in Spain and I can still learn a lot from Simeone. I’d only think about leaving if Simeone left for PSG or wherever.”
These words from Griezmann firmly quashed rumours of him leaving Atleti any time soon, but he certainly did not rule out the possibility completely. Simeone signed a new contract last year tying him to the Vicente Calderon until 2020, but the lure of coaching in Italy or England in the next few years, the countries that appeal to him most, could be too much. That could pave the way for a Griezmann move, but the 25-year-old could still leave before his Coach goes if the right offers start coming in.
According to recent reports, Manchester United Coach Jose Mourinho has already chosen the Euro 2016 top goalscorer as his No 10 transfer target for next year, but if this is true then there are almost certainly going to be competitors from the other financial superpowers of Europe. Griezmann’s loyalty to Los Colchoneros should be applauded, but there is a feeling that, unfortunately, if he wants to challenge to be the world’s best when the Argentine and Portuguese phenomena of the game start to slow down, he needs to be at one of these clubs.
Infuriatingly, the chasm between the underdogs of football and the richest clubs is getting bigger and bigger and not helped by the new Champions League format that starts in 2018. Yes, Atleti are a rich club, but they can’t compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain.
Simeone has a very young squad at his disposal and it should be very interesting to see how well they do in trying to avenge another Champions League final defeat. It just seems that they are the nearly men though, and that they might just have missed out on winning every trophy possible under the Coach. Let’s hope for Griezmanns’ sake that they prove everybody wrong, but the former Real Sociedad attacked cannot continue to miss out on silverware the way his club has done recently if he hopes to compete with Gareth Bale, Neymar and Paul Pogba in years to come.
For now, the little man from Macon is happy at Atleti, and so he should be. His progression has been a pleasure to watch and there aren’t many better Coaches around than Cholo Simeone to continue that. However, it seems as though in the current footballing climate, a big-money move for Griezmann is inevitable in the next few years – and potentially one that will surpass the fee paid for his compatriot Pogba.
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