The summer transfer period always brings a significant amount of rumours and speculation, as footballers are constantly linked with moves away from their current clubs. Antoine Griezmann seems set on signing with Barcelona, and it is an intriguing tactical dilemma that could be on the horizon for manager Ernesto Valverde.
The Blaugrana have famously utilised the 4-3-3 formation for a long period, dating back to Johan Cruyff’s time at the Camp Nou. It has brought tremendous success over the years, most recently producing a league and cup double during the 2017-18 campaign.
The likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho can thrive in this set-up and allows their skills to shine on the pitch. However, it is not as simple as it seems to add Griezmann into this rotation.
The Atlético Madrid forward can play as both a striker and out wide, giving that element of team selection some excellent flexibility. But ultimately, making all this work for Barcelona may prove to be difficult.
One potential solution for Valverde could be to use two forwards up front and place emphasis on the abilities of Suarez and Griezmann. Each can take on defenders effectively, often able to create their own chances in the final third.
Messi and Coutinho could operate further back, and enter the attack from midfield positions. But just like team-mate Ousmane Dembele, they are more efficient as wingers in a 4-3-3 alignment.
Changes in the midfield
One of the best ways that Valverde may be able to find the most joy with Griezmann in the squad is changing the midfield positioning, and finding a new place for Messi.
The Argentine magician is deadly out wide with his sharp movements and clever touch on the ball, but this can bring benefits in a central role also. With the departure of Andrés Iniesta, there will be changes in the middle moving forward for the Catalans.
As an attacking midfielder behind the front-line, Messi would be able to pull strings for an extremely formidable combination in the opposing half.
With Suarez flanked by Griezmann and Coutinho, La Liga defences would be exhausted just thinking about stopping Barcelona.
One way to solve this potential puzzle with Griezmann would be to make room for him by selling one of their stars, and it would not be a terrible option to pursue.
While Messi and Coutinho would not be the ones, there would be some thought needed for Suarez and Dembele.
Despite his incredible goalscoring output (152 goals across all competitions since joining Barcelona in 2014), Suarez will turn 32 in January. The club may feel that Griezmann can take his place as the key striker, and they would likely be able to command a massive transfer fee in the process for the Uruguayan international.
For Dembele, it would be a bit more complicated. The 21-year-old is still progressing, and his game can still reach new heights. While interest for his services would not be hard to locate, it would be a shame for Barcelona to give up so soon on such a promising young talent.