Antoine Griezmann had no plans to leave Barcelona this summer and was ready to assume the leadership role following the departure of Lionel Messi. In the end, the Frenchman was sent on loan to Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day with the move likely to be made permanent next summer.
The Catalan club's manager Ronald Koeman had put his trust on Griezmann after the Argentine superstar's departure. The France international started Barcelona's first three games of the season, but made little impact occupying Messi's former position on the left wing.
According to Spanish publication Sport, Griezmann was looking forward to being the leader of the Barcelona squad under Koeman, but club president Joan Laporta had other ideas. Barcelona were desperate to slash their wage bill and were looking to offload a number of high earning first-team stars.
Laporta tried engineering a swap deal with Atletico early during the summer transfer window involving Saul Niguez, but that deal fell through. It looked like Griezmann will stay at the Camp Nou for at least the 2021-22 campaign before he was pushed out of the club and sent on loan to the reigning La Liga champions.
The Catalan club's president revealed recently that Griezmann was not a player that the club needed, suggesting that the 2018 World Cup winner did not suit the system being deployed by Koeman. The Frenchman's loan will become permanent if he plays at least 50% of the games for Atletico this season, which is expected to happen as they look to defend the title they claimed last season.
The 30-year-old could make his debut for Atletico on Sunday when they take on Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium. Diego Simeone is likely to be without Luis Suarez, who has a minor injury and that could give Griezmann a chance to make his second debut in front of the away fans.