Antoine Griezmann: Player Profile

Arsenal Target Griezmann

Personal information
Full name: Antoine Griezmann
Date of birth: 21 March 1991 (age 22)
Place of birth: Mâcon, France
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position: Winger

Club information
Current club: Real Sociedad
Number: 7

Youth career
1999–2005 UF Mâconnais
2005–2009 Real Sociedad

Senior career
2009– Real Sociedad 175 Appearances, 43 Goals

National team
2010 France U19 7 Appearances, 3 Goals
2011 France U20 8 Appearances, 1 Goals
2010–2012 France U21 10 Appearances, 3 Goals

He’s fast, athletic and has an excellent left foot. He’s predicted to have a big future in the game – with a host of top clubs following him.

Antoine Griezmann is a French winger who plays for La Liga club Real Sociedad. He moved to Spain as a kid and soon joined Sociedad, before graduating from their academy system.

The Frenchman has impressed in La Liga this season having scored nine goals in 15 appearances, including notable goals away to Real Madrid and Valencia.

He will be remembered as the one that got away from all of French football.

As modern football moves towards diminutive playmakers with pace and sublime feet, Griezmann will always be seen as the youngster that no-one was willing to take a punt on.

He had trials; many trials. But no offers of youth contracts were forthcoming until he caught the eye of Real Sociedad.

At the tender age of 16, and with the offer of lodgings for his family; Griezmann took a chance on forging a path for himself in Spain.

The rejection he suffered from a string of French sides will still act as a spur for Antoine.

He may feel better knowing that none of the teams that had him for a week would have anything close to the financial muscle to sign him now.

Griezmann stands a lowly five foot and seven inches. His size and physique has always been the main worry surrounding him.

His pace, trickery and ability on the ball has never been questioned but, as he was breaking through, the elite sides in Europe were built around strapping bulldozer types, ready to bound through walls.

We can understand where the concerns came from. It is in Griezmann and striker Carlos Vela that Sociedad buzz.

La Real are quite simply devastating on the counter, racing up the field as quick as a flash to punish opposition sides that allow one too many players forward at set-pieces.

Of course, Antoine remains banned from international duty thanks to the infamous incident involving Yann M’Vila.

Griezmann and M’Vila, along with Chris Mavinga, Wissam Ben Yedder and M’Baye Niang enjoyed a night out in Paris between two legs of the French under-21 side’s crucial play-off with Norway.

The fact they were staying in Le Havre, a 250 mile round-trip from the French capital made the story all the more juicy for the French tabloids.

Three days after the night out, which was well photographed and talked about, France were battered 5-3 by Norway and missed out on qualification for the UEFA European under-21 Championships.

Regardless of the 72 hour gap between the two, the players were reprimanded by the French Football Federation.

The night out wasn’t to blame for the defeat but in light of the under-21 side letting a glorious position slip; it didn’t help the players’ case and they were all banned.

Griezmann’s ban expires at the end of 2013 and means he could still work his way into the World Cup squad that travels to Brazil.

However, he’ll need to assure many that his partying ways are behind him.

The severity of the fifteen month reprimand appears to have done the trick.

As much as it may have hurt the French teams to have not had him in and around over the last year; the wake-up call may serve them better in the future.

He’ll make his debut for Didier Deschamps’ France side soon.

He’s been playing too well over the last two seasons for the national team coach not to bring him into the squad between now and June.

From there, it’ll be up to the player to prove that France need him when they eventually get to South America.

Of course, his inclusion should make for an interesting reaction. Having been in Spain since he was 16, Antoine has friends around Sociedad, can ramble in Basque and has something of a Spanish accent when he speaks.

At a time when the French national team are struggling for public support; with many claiming they are paid too much and are too disengaged with real people; the reaction to Griezmann may not be friendly at all.

Like Eden Hazard’s troubles with Belgium, he’ll need to prove just how much pulling on the shirt means to him. Anything less and he’ll be written off along with the other prima donnas that blight Les Bleus.

Thankfully for his current club, Real Sociedad are in exceptionally good condition compared to the rest of Spanish football.

They should be able to withstand any responsible offer that is tabled for their exceptional winger.

That’ll allow them to wait on the ridiculous.

Only recently, their chief executive spoke of the cash surplus in and around the club thanks to the unprecedented Champions League appearance and the rather ludicrous sale of Asier Illarramendi to Real Madrid for something over €30 million.

Every summer, the 22 year-old has admitted how open he is to the idea of leaving Sociedad for pastures new.

Although, the French star is happy in Sociedad and has a support network around him; there isn’t the same loyalty that you’d expect from a player who grew up a stone’s throw away from the south stand of the ground.