Barcelona sign Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann will be a boost to the Barcelona attack (Image from Getty Images/Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno)

The will he or won't he saga that has followed Antoine Griezmann for over a year now finally came to an end on Friday with the French man completing a move to Barcelona

Barca thought they had their man last season but Griezmann pulled out of the deal late on, upsetting the Barcelona hierarchy along the way by announcing his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid on a television show that was backed by Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique. However, the player had a change of heart and announced in May that he would be leaving Atletico this summer. 

Barcelona always looked like the most likely destination for the attacker but Manchester United and Paris St Germain were also linked. However, on Friday morning Griezmann's lawyer was spotted going to La Liga's headquarters where he deposited the players €120 million release clause. Shortly afterward, Barcelona announced the deal on their official Twitter account and also said that the deal will see Griezmann sign a five-year contract with a new €800 million release clause. 

Moving to Spain

Despite being French, Griezmann has spent his entire career playing in La Liga. He first moved to Spain in 2005 when he joined Real Sociedad and he worked his way through their academy and into their first team by the time he was 18 in 2009. 

He played over 200 games for La Real and scored over 50 goals including 20 in his last season before Atletico Madrid spent €30 million to sign him in 2014. During his time at Atletico, he helped the club win the Europa League, a UEFA Super Cup, and a Spanish Super Cup

As well as those team honours, Griezmann has emerged as one of the best players in the world during his time with Los Colchoneros. He has twice made it onto the podium by finishing third in the Ballon d'Or in 2016 and 2018. In five seasons he has scored over 130 goals at an average better than a goal every other game. 

Whilst playing for Atletico, Griezmann has also emerged as an extremely important player for his country. Les Bleus won the World Cup last summer and lost in the final of the 2016 European Championships. Griezmann won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball in the 2016 Euros and then the Silver Boot and Bronze Ball in last summers World Cup. 

Where will he play? 

It's not immediately obvious where Griezmann will fit into Barcelona's plans. In their normal formation, he would probably fit best where Lionel Messi plays off the main striker but he won't replace Messi. Therefore it's likely he will play in a wider area which he has done before in his Real Sociedad days. 

In recent seasons, many of Barcelona's failures, particularly in the Champions League, have been blamed on a lack of support for Messi. Griezmann should be able to give the little Argentine plenty of back up in the Barcelona attack and with rumours still persisting that Neymar could also arrive it will be up to Ernesto Valverde to find a winning formula that keeps them all happy and that can bring Barcelona the Champions League title that they crave. 

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