Few transfers have been so heralded before they have actually happened as Antoine Griezmann's to Barcelona. The Catalans have done their best not to crow about the fact that they are convinced they are getting him in the summer. Atletico have done their best not to public mourn his almost inevitable departure.
Until the signing is complete there is always the possibility of a U-turn from the player but it seems unlikely either side will put out and it may well be that they would face contractual financial compensation claims if they did.
The No 7 shirt is waiting for him at the Camp Nou – Barcelona believe they are getting one of the 'best of the rest' players in the world, at his peak signing age 27 and at a very generous €100m (£87.31m) buy-out clause.
France forward Antoine Griezmann is set to join Barcelona from Atletico Madrid this summer
Griezmann, seen in training on Sunday, will cost Barca the value of his €100m buy-out clause
Former Real Sociedad star Griezmann star is expected to take the No 7 shirt at the Nou Camp
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Griezmann feels he is ready for the biggest move of his career, playing alongside Lionel Messi at one of the two stadiums he has always dreamed about calling home – the other being Old Trafford.
His arrival makes three things certain. Firstly, players will need to be sold. His arrival will open the floodgates with up to five forward or midfield players departing the club if buyers can be found.
Secondly, both Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele will have to get used to not playing every game. If they thought being the club's two most expensive ever signings would grant them that right then they were wrong.
And thirdly, this is another signal towards the gradual morphing of Messi into a midfielder. There will be times when he takes up a position closer to Sergio Busquets than to centre forward Luis Suarez. Although that won't stop him arriving alongside Suarez with the ball at his feet seconds later.
Griezmann's arrival will often result in Lionel Messi, currently with Argentina, playing deeper
Philippe Coutinho (left) and Ousmane Dembele will have to get used to not playing every game
In their Monday edition El Mundo Deportivo debated the tactical variations Greizmann will make available to the coach Ernesto Valverde, who until recently shared an agent with the player.
Option No 1 would see Barca play a 4-3-3 with Ivan Rakitic, Busquets and Coutinho in midfield from right to left, and Messi, Suarez and Griezmann in attack. It's an option that leaves out Dembele.
Option two had Barcelona playing Rakitic and Busquets as a pair in central midfield and then Messi, Griezmann and Dembele or Coutinho behind Suarez. It's an option that potentially leaves out Coutinho.
And option number three, again leaving out Dembele had Barca playing a 4-3-1-2 with Rakitic, Busquets and Coutinho in midfield and Messi behind Suarez and Griezmann.
Griezmann can fit into Barcelona's team in multiple ways, including on the left side in a 4-3-3
He could also line-up slightly deeper and wider, with Messi in a No 10 role, in a 4-2-3-1 system
Another option would by for Griezmann to partner Luis Suarez up front in a 4-3-1-2 formation
A fourth option would be leaving out Griezmann. When the Frenchman arrives for €100m he is unlikely to have any more guarantees to play every game then Dembele or Coutinho.
But despite the 'overbooking' it will create for Barcelona in the attacking positions, they are convinced this is not one forward too many.
Griezmann's arrival will also give the manager greater license to rest 31-year-old Suarez and 30-year-old Messi. Neither player has looked physically on the wane this season but both would benefit from not playing every minute of every match.
Valverde backs the Frenchman's arrival 100 per cent and the dressing room has also given the thumbs up. Griezmann is an adopted South American at Atletico Madrid, often spotted sharing the Uruguayan drink 'Mate' with Diego Godin. So he will ease into the Suarez, Messi group without difficulty.
And he will also be a positive influence on Dembele if for no other reason than the common language as the 20-year-old does his best to get to grips with settling in.
Griezmann is an adopted South American at Atletico so should bond quickly with Messi and Co
Barcelona will be able to rest Messi and Suarez more frequently once Griezmann, 27, arrives
Even Real Sociedad will be delighted because they are entitled to €20m of the €100m that Barcelona will have to pay. Atletico Madrid will be less pleased about losing their star player but the club have got over the departures of Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, David De Gea and Fernando Torres in the past so they are confident they can rebuild.
Bumping the player's buy-out clause up to €200m last summer (a temporary increase until the end of this season) at least prevented Griezmann leaving last year when Atletico still had the transfer ban and would not have been able to replace him.
The other potential losers from his arrival will be Denis Suarez, Rafinha, Paco Alcacer, Aleix Vidal, Arda Turan and Andre Gomes, who will all now very much be available at the right price.
Turan and Rafinha are currently out on loan and will not return. Denis Suarez interested Napoli last season but did not want to leave. Vidal, Gomes and Alcacer could stay but Alcacer and Vidal in particular could expect to play less than ever.
Diego Costa will be another 'victim' of his arrival. 'He spent all summer telling me to come here; he can't leave me now,' he said last week.
Costa better than anybody knows that Atletico Madrid is a club that a player often ends up leaving for a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere, even if he returns at a later date.
Griezmann is expected to play for France when they take on Russia in Moscow on Tuesday
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5544729/Where-Antoine-Griezmann-fits-Barcelona-Lionel-Messi-Luis-Suarez.html?mrn_rm=rta-fallback