Antoine Griezmann is one of the hottest properties on the market at the moment. The French golden boy lit up Euro 2016 and was named as the player of the tournament.
Despite signing a contract in the summer to keep him at Atletico Madrid until 2021, the Spanish giants are currently facing a mammoth task of retaining Griezmann’s services.
Griezmann has attracted interest from Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United with the latter reportedly favourites to sign the former Real Sociedad forward after he stated he would love to play with fellow compatriot Paul Pogba at club level.
However, Atlético Madrid cannot afford to let him go and here are five reasons why they just cannot let the tricky French star leave the Vicente Calderón!
1. His goal scoring record
Griezmann came to Madrid not knowing his position but was deployed as a No.10, a second striker and a winger (his preferred position). Sadly, things did not start well for Griezmann who struggled to adapt to life in Madrid after being the leading man at Sociedad.
However, Griezmann still had a prolific season scoring 22 goals in 37 league games. He managed to copy this total the following season as he scored 22 goals in 38 league games but his best form was in the Champions League as he bagged seven goals en route to the final with Atlético Madrid. Griezmann has started well for Madrid, scoring nine goals in a mere 15 games, no wonder he is the hottest property in football. He credits this success to one man; Diego Simeone.
2. The Simeone influence
It is easy to see why Atlético Madrid have enjoyed so much success under Simeone. He is passionate, nurturing and gives his players self-confidence, none more so than the Frenchman Griezmann.
Griezmann was moved into a central role by Simeone and has not looked back as his goal scoring record states.
3. Griezmann is direct
Much like his manager, Griezmann is straightforward; except his directness comes with how he plays. Direct play makes defenders uneasy and is capable of throwing fans into delirium.
Griezmann does all this. Whereas some players are happy just to play the ball sideways or wait for another player to break the defence, Griezmann is the man to force the issue.
Always looking to create something out of nothing, always seeking to test the goalkeeper and always trying to have one over his marker. Griezmann is the reason that Madrid are still only 9 points away from top spot; it could be much worse without him.
4. Strong mentality
Cast your mind back to 28th May 2016, Milan. Antoine Griezmann has missed a penalty in the Champions League final in normal time, not the best place to fluff up your lines. Does this stop him from taking a penalty in the shoot-out? No. In fact, he takes the first penalty of the shootout to put the demons to bed early on.
However, Griezmann’s Madrid fell to defeat, and this was left lingering over his head as he approached Euro 2016. Fast forward to 7th July 2016, Marseille. France is awarded a penalty in the semi-final of their home tournament against World Champions Germany. Does Griezmann shy away from the responsibility and pass it onto a teammate? No. Instead, the poster boy sends Manuel Neuer completely the wrong way and helps France reach the final.
Griezmann has the grit and determination which Atlético Madrid need if they are to win the La Liga title anytime soon.
5. The likeable factor
Griezmann is a fan favourite at the Vicente Calderón and is a player touted to win the Ballon d’Or, finally breaking Ronaldo and Messi’s dominance. He is an accessible player who does not shy away from meeting fans or talking to the press. There is also the celebration and smile.
Every time he scores and busts out the phones for the world’s cameras, who cannot help but smile? Finally, there is the new Puma advert where Griezmann manages to put his celebration to good use e.g. cocktail making, knitting and acting as a wingman.
He isn’t showing off his muscles or just plainly smiling at the camera, Griezmann is a showman, but in a way, that makes a fan think “he is one of us”, he is relatable.
All in all, Madrid need to keep the Frenchman at all costs, he is integral to their play in all competitions, and without them, you cannot imagine them pressuring Real Madrid or Barcelona in a fight for the La Liga title.
His importance in the Champions League cannot be overestimated, as Madrid topped their group with one game remaining. Madrid must keep this talented footballer if they are to progress as a team. Madrid cannot wait for February when the transfer window is closed!