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Griezmann’s struggle at Barcelona warning to wantaway Kai Havertz

When was the last time your discussion on football, ended without being majorly dominated by the latest exciting transfer report? A resounding NO seems to be the likely response, which is quite common considering the excitement that a big-money transfer generates. A tight free-kick from a nearly impossible angle might escape the limelight, but even the most baseless rumour surrounding a superstar like Kylian Mbappe certainly won’t.

While official confirmation and formalities hardly take a few days, the real challenge begins from thereon as the new big-money signing struggles to make his presence felt in a new environment, while negotiating the weight of expectations. There have been numerous instances where much-heralded high-profile signings failed to click, with French attacker Antoine Griezmann well on his way to cementing his reputation of being the next Barcelona flop. As Bayer Levurkusen wonderkid Kai Havertz attempts to force through a €76m transfer to Chelsea, a keen look at Griezmann’s struggle could certainly prove to be an eye-opener for the midfielder:

Antoine Griezmann’s nightmarish season at Barcelona:

The French attacker’s arrival was supposed to reduce the pressure on Lionel Messi in the goal-scoring department, after being signed from Atletico Madrid last summer for 120 million euros. Sadly, this has hardly been the case with Griezmann the man to blame recently come the full-time whistle in Vigo, after turning his back to Aspas’ effort rather than attempting to block it, with the ball finding its way into the bottom corner. The 29-year-old has cut a frustrating figure on the pitch, which is due to several factors beyond his control.

Antoine Griezmann-1(1)
Credit: Messidejongfcb (IG)

Griezmann has been deployed as a winger in the lineup, a position where he has not featured since his early days at Real Sociedad. The attacker has operated as a play-maker for the majority of his career, which is not an option considering the presence of Lionel Messi. Griezmann is further accustomed to featuring in a formation, which centers around his game-play unlike the scenario in Barcelona where the tactics revolve around Messi. The 29-year-old Frenchman attempts several moves over the course of a game in order to create chances, which are not appreciated by the other players habituated to getting the ball down to the Argentinian in every scenario.

Is Chelsea the right launchpad for Kai Havertz?

Chelsea have signed RB Leipzig attacker Timo Werner as well as Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, following the conclusion of a transfer ban. Considering the creativity of Ziyech as well as the deadly finishing of Werner, the Blues certainly look dangerous with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham capable of making their presence felt. The attacking midfield role further comprises of manager Frank Lampard’s favourites Mason Mount, Ross Barkley. 

In such a scenario, one certainly wonders about the game-time which will be available to Havertz as the dust settles on his multi-million dollar transfer move. The attacker’s growth is likely to be be stunted, featuring from the sidelines during a period when regular game-time is extremely necessary for the player’s overall development.

Chelsea have further been vulnerable to counter-attacks, with the defence an area of concern. This was certainly evident during the 3-0 defeats against West Ham United and Sheffield United in recent times, with the players left red-faced following an amateurish display. In such a scenario, Havertz might further be required to adopt a defensive role hampering his creativity and confidence.

Moving on to a bigger club is necessary for a player’s progress. However, the decision needs to be timed astutely after proper consideration considering the risk involved.

Written By: Chirag Sharma


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