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Sport PETE JENSON: Antoine Griezmann's Barcelona place hanging by a thread

16:25  10 october  2020
16:25  10 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Should Man United take a risk on Barcelona flop Ousmane Dembele?

  Should Man United take a risk on Barcelona flop Ousmane Dembele? PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: If United sign Dembele, they'll be acquiring a player whose speed and two-footed talent make him unplayable at his best. But it would also be a massive gamble.But they would also be getting someone whose dreadful luck with injuries make him a massive gamble.

PETE JENSON : Antoine Griezmann wanted to provide the stardust at Barcelona but has become Antoine Griezmann 's goals have been crucial for Barcelona at times this season He struck an equaliser against Napoli on Tuesday night to grab a vital away goal

Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann is reportedly keen on a move to the Premier League after falling out with club bosses. Griezmann had to settle for a place on the substitute bench against his former side. Atletico scored their second goal just after the hour mark but Setien introduced youngster Ansu

a group of football players on a field: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Adapt or die is the Darwinian rule of nature that players joining Barcelona in the Lionel Messi era have always had to abide by.

Thierry Henry and David Villa managed it and ended up with Champions League winners' medals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez did not and they ended up leaving the club.

Asked about Antoine Griezmann's current situation at Barcelona, France coach Didier Deschamps said this week: 'We don't understand the fact that he is not playing in his position, more centrally.'

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  Philippe Coutinho is reborn at Barcelona PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: Barcelona look born again under Ronald Koeman and no one more so than Philippe Coutinho who suddenly looks the player the club thought they had signed back in 2018.Barcelona looked born again under Ronald Koeman on Thursday night and no one more so than Philippe Coutinho, who suddenly looks the player the club thought they had signed from Liverpool for £145million in January 2018.

ESPN FC's French football correspondent Julien Laurens plays down Antoine Griezmann getting dropped for Barcelona last weekend, saying the French star knew

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a football player on a field: Antoine Griezmann has struggled to improve his form in the early stages of the new season © Provided by Daily Mail Antoine Griezmann has struggled to improve his form in the early stages of the new season a group of football players on a field: He would have benefited from Lionel Messi's exit, allowing him to play through the middle © Provided by Daily Mail He would have benefited from Lionel Messi's exit, allowing him to play through the middle

For a long time the answer to that question has been very simple: Messi plays there.

The days of Griezmann scampering up and down the flank for Real Sociedad are long gone. He played his best football at Atletico Madrid centrally behind Diego Costa. And he plays his best football for France centrally off Olivier Giroud.

But at Barcelona the position just behind Luis Suarez was Messi's.

When Messi flirted with an exit to Manchester City in the summer and Suarez was told to find another club it seemed a revolution was in the offing and that Griezmann would become the new nominal No 10.

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Football stars like Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez were seen training with Barcelona with the start of the Spanish league season two weeks away.

The summer transfer window has already begun for Barça, with a number of high-profile targets being lined up by the club. Ajax's Frenkie De Jong is already

Suarez would be replaced by a new No 9 and Griezmann would play off him in the the absence of Messi.

a baseball player holding a football ball on a field: But Philippe Coutinho is playing that role and Griezmann has been shoved on the right wing © Provided by Daily Mail But Philippe Coutinho is playing that role and Griezmann has been shoved on the right wing

It was at that time, when Suarez and Messi's double departure seemed most likely, that Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman started making positive noises about Griezmann, indicating that it was his intention to bring him in off the wing in an effort to maximise his usefulness.

When Messi stayed, the plan changed, but not completely. Suarez departed (after consulting Griezmann for advice on life at Atletico) and so with Messi nudged forward to a 'false 9' position there was still a vacant berth behind. That position seemed to have Griezmann's name on it.

There was a chance Philippe Coutinho would take it but Griezmann seemed to have the edge – he certainly won the battle of the shirt numbers when he was given his favourite No 7 over Coutinho, who had worn it the season before he went out on loan to Bayern.

Griezmann is already 'unhappy' under Koeman at Barcelona

  Griezmann is already 'unhappy' under Koeman at Barcelona Didier Deschamps has claimed that Antoine Griezmann has already been left unsettled playing under Ronald Koeman at Barcelona after being forced out wide in the attack. The France international featured on the right side in Barca's 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Sunday, with Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati in supporting roles behind Lionel Messi.It has not proved a one-off, with Griezmann playing in a similar position in the previous clash which saw them beat Celta Vigo 3-0.

PETE JENSON : Antoine Griezmann will not have envisaged his first year at Barcelona to have gone this way. PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: Antoine Griezmann was struggling early in the second-half before he was taken off with a thigh strain during Barcelona 's LaLiga victory over Valladolid on

The question is as simple as it is: can Antoine Griezmann succeed at Barcelona ? Answer in the chat below! If you enjoyed this video, please like and

But many a slip between cup and lip, and by the time the season had started Koeman had decided to use Coutinho behind Messi and Griezmann would have to play wide right.

'He's not a right winger in the pure sense,' said Koeman. 'We are not asking him to go on the outside.' In theory there would be plenty of scope for him to come inside and switch positions with Messi.

Ronald Koeman standing in front of a crowd: Griezmann must improve quickly or he could find himself replaced by Francisco Trincao © Provided by Daily Mail Griezmann must improve quickly or he could find himself replaced by Francisco Trincao a football player on a field: There could soon be pressure on Koeman to start 20-year-old Trincao in Griezmann's place © Provided by Daily Mail There could soon be pressure on Koeman to start 20-year-old Trincao in Griezmann's place

The idea of Barcelona's front four – Ansu Fati included - is that everyone swaps places and the opposition get dizzy. In practice Fati, Messi and Coutinho are so far thriving, but Griezmann is not.

Marca accused him of being 'still stuck in last season' this week, claiming that Koeman has been able to change a lot at Barcelona but he has not been able to revive the French forward.

Griezmann is not playing badly. But 'not playing badly' is not enough when your price tag was around €120million (£108m). In one respect his versatility hinders him.

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Barcelona fans ferociously taunted Antoine Griezmann during their victory over Atletico Madrid on Saturday night after he rejected the chance to join the Catalan giants last summer. Barcelona fans ferociously taunted Antoine Griezmann on Saturday evening.

It's precisely because he is able to play in various positions that he is shunted out to the right instead of Coutinho. But so far there is not enough adaptability to really shine in this new position and soon there could be pressure on Koeman to start with 20-year-old Portugal international Francisco Trincao in Griezmann's place. Ousmane Dembele is again an option too after he failed to join Manchester United on loan.

So far Griezmann has played 78, 45 and 60 minutes in games before being taken off. Koeman has not even allowed him to move to Coutinho's position when taking the former Liverpool player off – preferring to put on 17-year-old Pedri.

a person standing on top of a grass covered field: Spain youngster Ansu Fati continues to shine for Barcelona during early stages of this season © Provided by Daily Mail Spain youngster Ansu Fati continues to shine for Barcelona during early stages of this season

There is still hope that he can find his best form. His brilliant goal against Villarreal towards of last season was a reminder of what he is capable of and it came as part of a campaign when he scored 15 goals – as many as Neymar had managed in his first season at Barcelona.

But Griezmann got 21 goals in his last season under Diego Simeone, 29, 26 and 32 in the three campaigns before that. He is not going to score the same number playing wider but he knows he should be offering more.

Koeman said last week that he should have scored from the couple of chances that he had. Instead of digging him out maybe the coach could alter the way Barcelona play so he receives more of the ball. Not a single Barcelona attack was launched down his right flank in the first 40 minutes of last weekend's draw with Sevilla, and in the 90 minutes he received 15 passes, on the other flank Fati received 32.

Things are stacked against him but up to, and including, this last transfer window he has not been interested in a move elsewhere. How long that lasts if he can't turn the corner at the Nou Camp remains to be seen.

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Koeman faces his biggest test to revitalise Dembele's Barcelona career .
PETE JENSON: There are a few underachievers in the list of ten most expensive signings of all time but no one tops Ousmane Dembele for a failure to deliver value for money. Diario Sport recently calculated that the sixth all-time biggest signing has played just 25 per cent of possible minutes since his arrival in the summer of 2017.Barcelona's failure to package him off to Manchester United before deadline day means that Ronald Koeman must now somehow put the brakes on Dembele's career that is currently heading for the edge of a cliff.

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