Griezmann to fit in at Barca ‘like a ring on finger’

Antoine Griezmann has been tipped to fit in well at Barcelona “like a ring on a finger” by his old Real Sociedad boss Martin Lasarte.

After controversially turning down Barcelona last year, Griezmann grabbed his second chance with both hands this summer when the Catalan club came calling again.

The 28-year-old forward completed his €120m transfer from Atletico Madrid on Friday. Although his former club are far from happy and have demanded Barcelona pay another €80m in what will likely end up being a long and ugly court battle.

Nevertheless, Griezmann will don the Blaugrana jersey next season and line-up alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez up front.

But questions have been raised on how exactly head coach Ernesto Valverde will use the World Cup winner.

As natural left-footer, Griezmann has spent a huge chunk of his career down the left wing before taking on a centre-forward role in 2016. He’s also enjoyed great success on the right side, where he can cut into defences with his left foot.

However, Suarez is the main man in the Barcelona attack and Messi tends to favour being on the right side. A return to the left wing, therefore, seems the more likely option.

But Lasarte is confident Griezmann will have a smooth transition into the Barcelona team anyway.

“His signing for Barcelona – it would have happened last year, so it’s something everybody knew,” Lasarte told SportsMax.

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“Barcelona supporters were angry but I think staying at Atletico was the right decision for him.

“Now I think it’s the right time [to move] because after Barcelona failed to win all the trophies last season – and in a bad way – so I think Griezmann could fit easily and help them to come back, because he is a happy guy and a very positive one.

“I think Griezmann will fit like a ring on a finger after Barcelona’s situation last season.”

Lasarte oversaw Griezmann’s development from a youth player into a senior member of the Sociedad team.

In his time at San Sebastian, the France international managed 52 goals and 18 assists in 202 appearances before leaving for Atletico in a €54m deal in 2014.

“Well, it is difficult to be original when you define someone everybody knows,” added Lasarte.

“I trained a very young player that obviously has grown up.

“He made a giant step to become one of the best strikers in the world. Anyway, he still keeps some of the things he had when he was a child. He knows how to read the game. All of us are impressed with how he passes the ball, how he dribbles, or how he shoots the ball.

“He is a very smart guy, he knows how to take decisions on the pitch. He knows when he need to speed up, when to stop, or pass the ball short or long, or when to dribble.”

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN – OCTOBER 27: Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad de Futbol celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and UD Almeria at Estadio Anoeta on October 27, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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