120 million Euros on a player seems like a lot of money, or rather it is, but when it is spent on a player who was arguably the third-best in La Liga for the past few seasons in Antoine Griezmann, then it rather looks like a bargain considering the calibre of the player.
Barcelona are a team built under the principle of great team chemistry and cohesion all over the pitch and such chemistry is built at times through relationships off the pitch.
Recently, Antoine Griezmann spoke of a rather cold relationship between himself and his talismanic captain Lionel Messi.
“He is not someone who talks a lot and neither am I. It’s difficult.
“I have already given him some mate (tea) and we are going in the right direction.
“But he has been injured a lot so it is difficult to make this connection, to improve it.
“We are two good guys, nice people, and I’m here to help anyone on the team.”
It is a bad sign considering what I said about player relationships off the pitch, but it could be taken into account as well the fact that Messi has spent most of this season so far on the treatment table.
So far this season, Griezmann has scored three times and assisted on two occasions in eight games and the bad has outweighed the good in terms of his performances, especially in the Champions League.
Against Inter, he basically was like someone who occupied space on the pitch for the home team and it was really no surprise that Barcelona posed more of a threat offensively after he left the field – as they went on to grab the winner.
The arrival of Ousmane Dembele from the substitute’s bench gave Barcelona pace and directness that they lacked with Griezmann present.
It would be wrong to say that Griezmann’s struggles for Barcelona have been due to the presence of Messi and an apparent lack of understanding between them because he has struggled in games Messi has not played and also in games that the Argentine forward has played very few minutes either due to injury or coming on as a substitute.
La Liga games against Granada and Villareal were the only two times Messi and Griezmann shared the same pitch but in those matches, Messi played a combined number of 91 minutes according to whoscored.
In those two games, Antoine Griezmann played a total number of 165 minutes.
Against Villareal, Messi assisted Griezmann in the match before getting substituted due to injury worries. In Barcelona’s loss to Granada, Messi came on in the second half and Griezmann played the full 90 minutes but had absolutely no effect on proceedings. He also had his lowest whoscored rating as a Barcelona player in La Liga (5.85).
Without Messi, he has played 450 minutes of football spanned over five games, scoring only twice. That makes for a goal every 225 minutes – a dismal statistic for a world-class player especially when he is widely seen as the man to step up when Messi is not around.
At this point, Griezmann needs to buckle up and get some consistency in his game or run the risk of losing his place altogether with the presence of Dembele in the fringes.
What 120 million Euros should buy is results not inconsistency.