Barcelona Transfer News: Luis Suarez Talks Up Antoine Griezmann Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 3: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid warms up before the UEFA Europa League Semi Final second leg match between Atletico Madrid and Arsenal FC at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 3, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has intimated Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann could be joining the club in the summer.

Griezmann has been strongly linked with a switch to the Camp Nou this year, so much so that the Blaugrana released a statement on their official website in January dismissing speculation that an agreement had been reached between the parties.

Speaking to Radio Rincon, Suarez was asked about Griezmann and dropped a few hints that this deal will be going ahead (h/t Dejan Kalinic of Goal).

"It makes the club proud to bring players of this quality like Antoine, like [Ousmane] Dembele and [Philippe] Coutinho came," the Blaugrana No. 9 said. "He's a player who brings a huge amount. He has a lot of years playing at the highest level, always fighting. He rules up front for Atletico, and that is fundamental."

Suarez added that Griezmann would not be arriving to "take the place of anyone" and added that the 27-year-old "would be welcomed."

According to Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague, Barca are leading the chase for the Atletico man after he turned down a new deal from his club (h/t Sky Sports LaLiga):

Serious interest from Barcelona wouldn't be a shock, as the France international has long been one of the most dangerous forwards in football.

Under Diego Simeone's guidance in Madrid, he has pushed on from his days as an erratic winger with Real Sociedad. While Simeone is renowned for his defensive tactics, Griezmann still finds a way to flourish in the final third. He's effective on the counter-attack for Atleti, with his blistering pace and close control often relieving pressure.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 05: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid speaks with Head coach Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid during the UEFA Europa League quarter final leg one match between Atletico Madrid and Sporting CP at Wanda Metropolitano on April 5, 201
TF-Images/Getty Images

What sets Griezmann apart from so many forwards is his ability to stay calm in possession when he ventures into the final third. As OptaJoe noted, he's been crucial in Atletico's run to this season's UEFA Europa League final:

There's no denying Griezmann's quality. Yet if he were to move to Barcelona at the end of the season, it's not clear where he would fit into the team.

In Suarez and Lionel Messi, Barca have two of the world's best forwards. Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are expected to flank them at full strength. Griezmann, who can play in any of the positions across the forward line, would face serious competition for his place as a result.

As highlighted earlier in the campaign, there have been signs the Spanish champions' attacking quartet is capable of linking up to great effect:

Even so, Griezmann is a world-class operator, and given both Messi, 30, and Suarez, 31, are well into the peak years of their career, it would be smart for Barca to make some contingency plans with the future in mind.

Griezmann has spent four seasons at Atletico and has the potential to win a European trophy this term. With that in mind, the France international may view this summer as the ideal time to embark on a new challenge.

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