Why revealing Antoine Griezmann won't be an easy job for Barcelona
So it finally happened! After a month of speculations, on Friday, Antoine Griezmann has officially been announced as the new signing for FC Barcelona. Griezmann who is coming on the back of an illustrious CV at Athletico Madrid and with the French national team has been roped in by the Blaugrana colours after they triggered his release clause amounting to €120 million.
The Catalan outfit have been looking to secure the services of the Frenchman for over a year now.
After Neymar left the club, Barcelona in their desperate attempts to restore the void, left no stones unturned to recruit the best in the position with prominent names like Griezmann, Coutinho, and Dembele. Even though the Coutinho and Dembele deal did go through Griezmann who was heavily linked for a move to Camp Nou could not secure a transfer last season.
The Frenchman’s calibre is beyond contention but Barcelona’s pursuit for another big-money signing (200 million euros in 2018) last season did raise a lot of eyebrows especially after Neymar failed to live up to his 'loyalty' to the club.
The wounds of the fans were further deepened when Griezmann put an end to the whole situation by announcing his stay at Madrid in a controversial documentary video named 'LaDecision' where he pledged his allegiance to Atletico. Many fans saw this video as ‘immature’, ‘unnecessary’ and a disrespect to the club.
In the 2018-19 season when Atletico visited Barcelona for their away match in La Liga, Barcelona fans expressed their disappointment out-loud when they seemingly jeered Griezmann when he stepped on the pitch. A section of the crowd was also heard shouting "Giezmann, you b******, get out of Camp Nou". Least be told, it was quite clear that he wasn't the most popular character among the Barcelona fans.
Now, after a year later, Griezmann has finally been announced as a player of the Catalan outfit. From the team’s perspective Griezmann does look like a perfect fit for Barcelona especially with an ageing Luis Suarez approaching his twilight years.
But the Barcelona PR team would be particularly cautious on how they reveal Griezmann to the fans as it's quite obvious that he might not be the most popular arrival here.
Barcelona would be particularly looking to clean and rebuild the image of the player as much as possible before they make him appear before the public. The campaigns surrounding the player could also be expected to be on the similar lines.
The video released by Barcelona immediately after the announcement yesterday has been captioned “Life is all about second chances” where Griezmann could be seen stating,
I’ll defend Barca Colours with all my determination and commitment.
Barcelona have also released videos with ‘Happy reactions’ from fans 'welcoming' the French International at Camp Nou on their Instagram handle, more of which could be seen in the coming days.
There's also a high chance that Griezmann might not be revealed in Camp Nou according to a report from Marca, Griezmann won’t be presented before the fans due to a pitch renovation happening at the stadium. Goalkeeper Neto was also not presented at the stadium as the renovation work had already begun.
Either way, it is only to be seen how else the management is able to blend the new signing among the fans in the coming days.
However it may be, nothing else would please the fans more than Griezmann actually performing on the pitch. The Barcelona fans could expect the Frenchman to take the field as soon as 4th August when they play the Joan Gamper Trophy against Arsenal.