Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann only made a U-turn on his immediate future at the club post Ronald Koeman's arrival, according to former agent Eric Olhats.
Supposedly, the forward had decided to depart after a tumultuous season at the Camp Nou in which he was not a key member of the squad for the most part.
However, the sacking of Quique Setien following the 8-2 drubbing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League led to a change in his decision as Koeman announced that he would be playing Griezmann in his favoured central position.
Griezmann made the sensational switch to Barcelona at the start of the recently concluded term for a staggering €120 million from La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
'He was seriously studying how to leave' - Barcelona star Griezmann's former agent
The move has turned out to be a horror show thus far, as Griezmann has often been played in a wider role that is not suited to his game. Moreover, the Frenchman's season has been marked by unsettling performances, inconsistency and the visible lack of impact.
15 goals in all competitions for Barcelona in his first season, therefore, do not paint the entire picture.
However, there is an impression that Koeman wants to build his Barcelona squad around Griezmann. The Dutch boss recently confirmed:
"The same goes for Antoine Griezmann. He is not a traditional winger, so you have to play him in his own position, in a role that suits him and where he can showcase his abilities. You have to know your players as a coach and ensure you get the best out of them."
That must surely have propelled the Barcelona star to stay put as the club prepares to wrestle for the La Liga title next season.
Olhats, who previously worked with Griezmann as his agent, shed light on the same:
"Before the [8-2] defeat in the Champions League to Bayern [Munich], Antoine only had the desire to leave Barcelona. The reality is that Griezmann perceived that he was not part of the club's plans, that he could not continue like this."
He continued, stating that Koeman's reassurance helped the Barcelona man:
"He was seriously studying how to leave. Then what we know happened and a conversation with Koeman reassured him. [Koeman] expressed his plans, because he considers him an important player for the future."
Meanwhile, Barcelona are set to offload 33-year-old Luis Suarez after their new boss deemed him as surplus to requirements, while they also have to fight tooth and nail to keep hold of their skipper Lionel Messi.
The latter is determined to end his stay at Barcelona after over one-and-a-half decades at the club, and Manchester City are touted as potential favourites.
Published 28 Aug 2020, 14:17 IST