"I do not worry about Antoine. " That's the official speech. The one held by Didier Deschamps about Antoine Griezmann. But this statement by the coach of the French football team does not mask the fact that there are indeed some questions about the French international.
While the Blues face, Friday, October 11, Iceland in a major match to ensure the qualification for the Euro 2020, the one who is one of their flagship strikers knows a difficult start to the season with FC Barcelona, team that he joined this summer after leaving Atletico Madrid, but in which he struggles to find his place.
One player among others
"It's never easy to change clubs, relativizes Didier Deschamps. He starts from a team that was organized around him. He is recovering in a team that had certain habits, and he evolves in different areas in relation to the use that I can make of him in France team. "
This is the whole "problem Griezmann": the 28-year-old player, transferred for 120 million euros in Catalonia, has gone from playing a role of playmaker in Madrid to playing among others in the Catalan attack.
After being used at the beginning of the season, in the axis of the attack to fill the absence, for injuries, of the Uruguayan Luis Suarez and the Argentine Lionel Messi, the French then, from mid -september, been moved on the left wing by Barça coach Ernesto Valverde.
"We just caught a glimpse of some lightning. Insufficient for a player of his category. Spanish sports daily "Marca"
Although he sometimes shone in this situation (during his stay at Real Sociedad), today this replacement does not put him in the best conditions. Although his statistics are far from ridiculous (three goals, two assists in seven games), Antoine Griezmann weighs little on the game. All the less that, left-handed, he can not really play on his strong foot or easily find good passing solutions.
"In Barcelona, the left winger will usually be stopped when it is served. Gold Griezmann needs to be in motion or launched, details Florent Toniutti, video analyst, who hosts "Vu du banc", a podcast on football tactics. That's why, on the left, he has almost no influence on the game. "
This situation led, from 18 September, the sports daily Marca to write : "We just caught a glimpse of some lightning. Insufficient for a player of his category. " Repeated appreciation on 1st October: "The Frenchman is still far from being the reference player we were used to. "
So, does the transfer of summer turn into a fiasco? "There is no case Antoine Griezmann", ensures Clement Lenglet, his teammate in club and selection. " I need timesaid the interested party in early October. There is a coach, a tactic. You have to comply. "
A question of time is also what we think of Barça. Lionel Messi in the lead: "For any player who does not know Barça's method, it is very difficult to come from outside. Griezmann is a smart player, of high quality, who will eventually adapt, " said Tuesday, October 8 on Catalan radio Rac 1, the Argentine striker, hitherto very discreet on this subject.
"Everyone is convinced that once the trio Messi-Suarez-Griezmann has chained the matches, (Griezmann) will be at the level everyone expects », wrote Marca a few days ago. Collusion with Messi … The key is probably there. "There is an agreement to perfect, highlighted Florent Toniutti. I do not see them incompatible at all. "
"It's not easy to discuss (with Messi). But I offered him some mate (a South American infusion), We are on the right path. Antoine Griezmann
The first steps were complicated, the Spanish press having evoked the fact that Messi would have seen better the return of Neymar rather than the arrival of Griezmann. " This is a lie, said the Argentine at the microphone of Rac 1. Last year, I said he was one of the best and the best are always welcome. "
Positive signs were seen during the match against Villareal on September 24: the French scored a goal on a pass from Argentina. "He's been hurt a lot lately, so it's complicated to find the connection in the field, to refine it.", argues Griezmann. Adding that Messi and himself are not big talkers, "It's not easy to discuss". "But I offered him some mate (South American infusion), We are on the right path. "
Meanwhile, Griezmann has the opportunity, Friday, to find in France team his favorite position, behind the attacker. The opportunity to revive. His last two outings in blue have been mixed: host of the game against Albania, he was more average against Andorra. Above all, he missed a penalty in each of these meetings.
" You have to work. So we will continue to work, " he had let go after the match against Andorra. This is also what he says about his situation in Barcelona: "I discover another game philosophy, another position in the field. You have to learn new things, improve, change your movements. "