Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman hit with ‘impossible’ transfer issue with Lionel Messi
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has an “impossible” situation on his hands with Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi, because he won’t be able to play both in their best positions this season. That’s the opinion of Europan football expert Julien Laurens, who discussed the situation on ESPN FC.
Koeman promised drastic changes after taking over as Barcelona manager.
The Dutchman inherited the hotseat after Quique Setien was sacked just days after their 8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich.
Koeman is planning a squad overhaul at the Nou Camp, with Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets both expected to leave.
The new boss, who left his role with the Dutch national side, has promised to get the best out of last season’s big-money signings Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.
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The pair arrived last summer for a combined fee of just under £175million, but neither were too impressive this season as both played out of position for large parts of the season.
For De Jong, he was played out wide at times and not in his natural centre-midfield spot.
And Griezmann, who plays as a second striker, often found himself playing on the left wing.
But Laurens has warned that playing Griezmann in his natural position would be impossible, because it would mean pushing Messi out wide and away from his natural role.
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Speaking on ESPN FC, he explained that one potential solution would be to play Griezmann as a central striker if Suarez ends up being sold.
Laurens said: “The De Jong one is a simple one, his best position is in a double-pivot.
“I can guarantee you that if Koeman does what he says he’s going to do, Barcelona will play with two in midfield, one will be De Jong and the other will be Pjanic. That will certainly be De Jong’s best position.
“For Griezmann, it’s a different story, because his best position is right behind the striker.
“If you get rid of Suarez, you don’t have a striker anymore, so you’ll need to go and get someone else.
“And if you play Griezmann in his best position, behind the striker, what happens to Messi? Messi would then play out on the right, but he’s free, he’s everywhere, he’s the best in the world and that I’ve ever seen.
“So, you’re not going to restrict Messi and say ‘listen, Griezmann is playing central, so play on the right but stay there, just stay out wide’ – that’s never going to happen.
“I’m really curious to see how Koeman is going to make them play both in their best positions. To me, that’s impossible.”
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