Griezmann did not arrive at Barça the best way. His transfer was marked by his ‘Decision’ documentary the year before where he revealed that he would stay at Atlético for another season in order to try to win the Champions League with ‘The Rojiblancos’. That change of plans at the last minute felt like a stab to Barça´s locker-room and the French ended up signing for them a year later after leaving a bad taste among his future teammates without even wearing their jersey.
A legal battle came afterwards in order to find out if he had exchanged emails with Barça months before reaching an agreement, as he still had a contract with Atlético. This turned into a dispute between both clubs, as Atlético claimed 200M for the transfer (his release clause price before the end of the season) and Barça only paid the 120 that his contract established at the end of the season. Overall, Griezmann did not leave Atlético the right way and he signed for Barça after the year before´s betray. Maybe that was just a premonition of what the future was about to hold for him.
He does not fit at Barça:
A year after his arrival at Barça, Girezmann has not shined on the pitch yet because he does not have a spot while Messi is in the team. The Argentinian takes up the role the French really needs.
Everyone played for him at Atlético. He was not just the offensive reference, but he also had the freedom to move around to wherever he wanted to in the creative area, the playmaker position, or the wing, and the most important thing, he always had a striker by him (Costa) that would take care of the dirty work. At Barça, he does not even have Suárez anymore.
At Atlético he would decide where to play at depending on what the game was demanding, and he would perform at his best because he always understood perfectly when he needed to slow down the pace (every time Atlético were 1-0 up, so most of the time) or when he had to speed up the process in order to propel his team. Griezmann is the best at this role and this is what Atlético really needed from him. This is the reason why he almost reached Messi and Cristiano´s leve. Now he spends too much time on the bench or the stands.
However, Messi is the one who takes up that role at Barça and so the French gets displaced to a secondary one that does not make any good to his performance at all. Griezmann does not stand out at the wing since his years at Real Sociedad (when he was younger and faster). He does not shine as a striker either because that is not his ideal spot. Griezmann is a playmaker or a ‘fake 9’ that needs freedom to move around to decide where he can play his best depending on the game. And he will not be able to do that while Messi is at Barça. In fact, he is actually being overcome by other way more versatile players such as Ansu Fati or Pedri. And that only decreases his confidence even more.
Cholo got the best out of Griezmann:
Simeone is the most responsible coach for the fact that Griezmann was even considered to among the top 5 best players in the world just a couple years ago. The Argentinian signed a pure winger and turned him into a player with the ability to play anywhere offensively and dominate every aspect of the game. He lost dribbling in the process, but he earned game vision and, moreover, he became a goal scoring machine. Everything at Atlético was around him. He was their Messi.
The key factor for him to return to his best level:
Griezmann has said to the media that “Deschamps knows where to put him on the pitch” a clear message to Koeman, and he is not wrong at all, because his main issue is the spot he plays at. He always plays in the wing or as a striker at Barça, and he always has a static role where he has to help defensively or just stay not move around too much to get out of Messi´s way, and that is the biggest problem.
What Griezmann really needs in order to return to his best level is Messi to let him take his spot, and that will not happen until the Argentinian leaves, if the French does not do so before. Maybe he should have thought about it twice before leaving a club that gave him everything he is today and, most importantly, conceded him the main role in the team that others do not give to him.