Antoine Griezmann appears to be flying under the radar, as much more established La Liga performers are moving on to loftier heights. But are Premier League clubs missing out on the Real Sociedad midfielder?
Is there life beyond Barcelona and Real Madrid? This question is almost perverse; of course there is life, talent and excitement away from the kings of Spanish football. European finals are not just contested by the two clubs who, admittedly, do hold up the pillars of La Liga. The Basque clubs are admirable in the running of their clubs, and they deserve a little more recognition. If it wasn’t ridiculous (maybe it was) for Stoke City to be considered as challengers for a European place last season, why is it so unnatural to think of excitement lying at the gates of all the other clubs in La Liga? Isn’t that what football fans want? Excitement and unpredictability.
What was exciting and extremely unpredictable was Real Sociedad’s home tie against Barcelona last season. Let’s just dismiss this one as another 5-0 thrashing handed out by the then defending La Liga champions. Maybe that’s the thinking all over the world, and maybe even in Spain as well, but a match turned on its head is what was on offer. One of the Sociedad players leading the fight back against a 2-0 deficit was Antoine Griezmann.
The French midfielder had equalised; the second of the two goals which came inside two minutes. If only La Liga was like this every week.
Indeed it is, or at the very least games like that are very possible considering the untapped talent that spans the league. Or maybe the only players worth the effort in Spain are at the big two. Bilbao will have something to say about that, as will Atletico, Sevilla and, indeed, Real Sociedad.
Antoine Griezmann has been linked to the Premier League in the past, although it seemed more like a half-hearted attempt to fill a gossip column, rather than there being any genuine interest. He’d flown in from French football and, after progressing through the youth ranks at the Basque club, established himself as something of a gifted midfielder; certainly in keeping with the talent and high technical proficiency of the rest of the league.
He is yet to be capped by the French national side, which probably doesn’t help in the building of his reputation. It will, however, certainly help any side looking to pick up a bargain, one whose price isn’t inflated due to his presence on the international stage.
Like many of the other young wingers in the Spanish League, Griezmann is quick, skilful, excellent in the build up play, and now appears to be taking on a central role, highlighting his versatility. He’s previously expressed a desire to move to a club a little higher up the ladder than Sociedad, with obvious intentions of playing in European competition.
Would he succeed in the Premier League? If offered the right role in the right team he would be a great buy. Newcastle have spent wisely in the past, and Liverpool’s new manager could help to elevate Griezmann’s talent and potential.
His ambition for now is to play for France, which could be helped by a move to a major club. There’s no arguing his talents, but currently Griezmann is on the outside looking in, and Sociedad are unlikely to offer him a greater spotlight.
However, the unpredictability of La Liga may offer Griezmann the opportunity to stay with his club and compete in the Europa League. Levante’s success last season – again, unpredictable – has offered a new hope to lesser teams in the league, and Carlos Vela’s signing for Sociedad from Arsenal could give the Basque club enough firepower to launch a convincing attack on a European place.
For now, though, Griezmann remains one of La Liga’s exciting young talents who would thrive on the big occasion. He’s worth taking the gamble on, especially considering the small fee he would likely command.