Antoine Griezmann’s former agent has claimed that Ronald Koemann’s arrival at Barcelona will see the Frenchman become a key player in Catalonia. That’s despite reports in Spain claiming that maligned president Josep Bartomeu recently attempted to trade him…wait for it…to Atletico Madrid, in exchange for Joao Felix.
The fact that Barcelona are in dire straits is no new revelation, but even by their standards, the past month has been a rough one. They have yielded their La Liga title, shipped eight goals to Bayern Munich, and received a transfer request from their captain and greatest-ever player, and those are just the surface issues.
Bartomeu has been at the heart of it all, with his unique brand of decision-making blamed for much of the gale-force sh*t-storm laying waste to Camp Nou at present.
According to Marca, just one example of his erratic leadership came shortly before the 8-2 trouncing to Bayern. Not satisfied with having paid through the nose for Griezmann a year ago, he is said to have proposed a transfer that would see the France international head back to Atletico after just one season, with the prodigious Joao Felix heading in the opposite direction.
The response from the capital club was not a complicated one: no.
It’s perhaps just as well, anyway, because if Griezmann’s former agent Eric Olhats is to be believed, then he will play a central part in the new, dystopian, potentially post-Messi era at Barca. Olhats, who represented Griezmann for more than a decade, claims his former client would have been open to leaving prior to the Bayern defeat, but the arrival of Ronald Koeman has been central to a surprise U-turn.
“Before the disaster vs Bayern, Antoine wanted one thing: to leave,” Olhats told RMC Sport, per Metro. “He felt like he was no longer part of the plan, that things couldn’t continue like that.
“He was seriously looking at it. Then, there was what we know happened and a conversation with Koeman reassured him, that he was part of his plans, that he considered him as an important player for the future.”
Griezmann’s 15 goals in 48 appearances last season will hardly have convinced anyone he is a suitable heir-apparent for Messi, but we’ll see how things go.