Antoine Griezmann was “seriously looking” at leaving Barcelona before the club’s 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Éric Olhats, the Frenchman’s former agent, has told RMC that Griezmann was unhappy with his role at the Catalan giants but has had a change of heart talking to new manager Ronald Koeman.
“Before the disaster vs Bayern, Antoine wanted one thing: to leave. He felt like he was no longer part of the plan, that things couldn’t continue like that. He was seriously looking at it [leaving].
“Then, there was what we know happened and a conversation with Koeman reassured him, that he was part of his plans, that he considered him as an important player for the future.”
Griezmann did not start the drubbing against the Bavarian giants in Lisbon but did arrive at half-time as a substitute for Sergi Roberto. The 29-year-old was also left out of the starting XI for big games against Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Athletic by previous manager Quique Setien.
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Griezmann Set For Fresh Start Under Koeman?
Koeman has already spoken about how he plans to use Griezmann next season and has suggested he will be an influential player for the Dutchman. The former Netherlands coach told NOS that he will not be using Griezmann out wide.
“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.”
Griezmann has largely been used in a wide role at Barcelona with Luis Suarez as the central striker, but Koeman has told the Uruguay international he is not in his plans for next season.
Indeed Barcelona could have a new-look attack in 2020-21 if Lionel Messi also leaves. The Argentina international has told the club he does not want to continue and is keen to leave for free.
Griezmann Promised the No. 7 Shirt
Griezmann could also have a new shirt number next season. The Frenchman took the No. 17 when he arrived from Atletico Madrid as his preferred No. 7 was already taken by Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian has since returned from a loan spell with Bayern Munich, but Koeman has already promised Griezmann he can have his preferred No. 7, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
Koeman also promised Griezmann a more influential role at the club and told him: “You did it at Atlético and you will do it at Barça.” Griezmann struggled to find a natural place in the Barcelona team in his first season at the Camp Nou, but Koeman’s arrival could be good news for the World Cup winner.