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5 clubs Antoine Griezmann should consider joining

Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final
Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final

Summer transfer season is fast approaching once again and while the World Cup will serve as a welcome distraction from the melee of rumours that will fly around, there is no doubting the importance of this period to the game’s biggest clubs.

Europe’s heavyweights will, in particular, vie for the game’s greatest talents. Truly elite players on the market are few and far between, yet one man expected to be on the move over the course of the summer is France international star Antoine Griezmann.

After four years with Atletico Madrid, his cycle in the Spanish capital is drawing to a close. He stayed loyal to the club during their transfer ban and helped them remain competitive at the cutting edge of the Primera Division and in Europe, capping his time under Diego Simeone’s charge by winning the Europa League.

His departure is now inevitable, but where might he end up playing next season? The possibilities are wide for the versatile attacker, who is expected to be one of the leading lights for a strong France squad that will travel to Russia for the World Cup.

Here are five clubs that the Macon-born star would do well to consider.

Paris Saint-Germain

Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final
Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final

A return to his homeland has been suggested for the attacker, who is the darling of the national team. Only Paris Saint-Germain could realistically lure him back at this stage of his career, thanks to their financial clout and growing reputation.

PSG recently confirmed that Thomas Tuchel will take charge of their affairs in the coming season, with Griezmann well suited to playing in the former Borussia Dortmund coach’s high-intensity brand of football.

It would be a departure from the more measured and pragmatic style of Diego Simeone, but it may suit the attacker to play in a more offensively orientated side. He would be handed more of an opportunity to express himself, although he would be expected to work just as hard without the ball as he currently does at Atleti.

Teaming up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe must also be a tantalising prospect for the 27-year-old, who has thus far spent his whole professional career in Spain.

PSG retain a burning ambition to win the Champions League, which only grows every season it evades them, and Griezmann would have the opportunity to be to the fore of that challenge in a city where he is already loved.

However, growing up as a Marseille fan, it may be too much for the attacker to join his boyhood club’s great rivals. After all, he’s already cost OM the Europa League.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga
Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

Champions of Europe once again, Real Madrid remain arguably the most attractive team for players in the world. They have now won three successive Champions League titles and boast an ability to win trophies that no other club can. That alone should be enough to entice Griezmann.

Furthermore, they play in a city he is comfortable in and familiar with, although the atmosphere would no doubt change if he left Atleti for their grander neighbours.

But that could equally be offset by numerous factors, first and foremost among those the presence of France legend Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu.

Speaking in April, he praised his countryman’s work ethic: “He's obviously a decisive player, but he works hard so it's no surprise.”

On top of this, Gareth Bale’s comments after the Champions League final suggesting that he will leave the club in the summer suggest a position on the roster could open up soon, while Cristiano Ronaldo dropped a hint that he might depart, even if he very quickly doubled back on that comment.

With Zidane favouring a diamond formation, it is easy to image Griezmann slotting in as one of the centre-forwards or even in the No.10 role that Isco has filled should he make the daring cross-city move.

If Griezmann is ever to make the leap, now seems the ideal time.

Manchester United

France v Republic of Ireland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
France
v Republic of Ireland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

Manchester United need an injection of life to their attacking line. While some feel that may be brought by a change of management, it seems that Jose Mourinho will be going nowhere this summer and that fans of the Red Devils will have to endure his pragmatic brand of football that goes against the club’s historical traditions.

Griezmann would be perfect to add a touch of excitement to the team as he is capable of unlocking defences in all kinds of situations.

However, it is not just the aura of Old Trafford or his abilities to add to the team that makes United such an attractive prospect; he could also team up with international team-mate Paul Pogba.

Both are exuberant, outgoing personalities who enjoy the social media spotlight, although the midfielder has found to his cost that he can be easily criticised for such tastes.

While it is Pogba’s obsession with changing his haircut that he comes under fire for, Griezmann’s intricate celebrations would be a simple target for those seeking to criticise him.

The pair, however, are firm friends and have indicated that they would like to collaborate on a weekly basis in the past.

“If only we could do this every day,” Pogba said during an international training camp in the spring, with Griezmann responding: “That would be great. But hey, that doesn't mean I'm going to go to Man Utd.”

Arsenal

Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final
Olympique de Marseille v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Europa League Final

Arsenal have long been associated with a move for Griezmann, but those links were strongest when Arsene Wenger was still at the helm and the club was still fighting to compete in the Champions League.

The Gunners find themselves facing the 2018-19 season in a state of transition. Unai Emery has just taken charge but, most damagingly, they face a campaign in the Europa League. Emery may be a specialist in that competition – a little like Griezmann – but the player will likely feel that he needs to take a step up and be performing on the very highest stage.

Arsenal, though, should not be entirely written off.

It is a club at which French players have thrived in recent years, so the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires would simply be a phone call away for support or advice. Moreover, the Gunners would offer the chance of Griezmann to attain iconic status as the superstar who led them back to the top.

He has the fit to bring joie de vivre back to the Emirate Stadium and the top-level quality to enhance the squad in a manner that would likely suit Emery’s more direct approach.

Of course, it would a stiff task, but it could be an exciting one if he were to decide it was one he was up for.

Barcelona

Atletico Madrid v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League

The likeliest destination for Griezmann come August is Barcelona. The Catalan side are closing in on his signature, having missed out on him previously due to the loyalty he felt to Atleti when they were going through their transfer embargo.

Griezmann is the man that Barca really wanted in their ranks to replace Neymar, who was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million last summer, and he would offer a fine alternative to Ousmane Dembele, whose first season in La Liga has been hampered by injury problems and doubts over his ability to play at the club’s level on a consistent basis.

The Frenchman would offer more certainties than his international counterpart. He is well used to the style and defenders in La Liga, while he would benefit from having more freedom to operate as the opposing team’s focus would inevitably drawn to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Moreover, he offers versatility that would allow him to fill several different positions, although one drawback may be that the 4-4-2 system that was used extensively by Ernesto Valverde last season would not instantly appear to be one in which he would be best suited, particularly with Suarez and Messi so established as the forwards.

Nevertheless, there would be few who would back against Griezmann becoming even more of a star at Camp Nou.

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Edited by Sripad
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