La Liga is certainly a two-horse race ,but the previous seasons have rendered the 3rd and 4th spot up for grabs – a lot of teams vying for the much coveted Champions League spot. Last year the team which clinched the 4th spot was Malaga powered by “The Engineer” Manuel Pellegrini, this year it is Real Sociedad, thanks to exceptional performances from Arsenal reject Carlos Vela, Xabi Prieto, and the protagonist of this article-
22 year old Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.
All Clubs have this tendency to aggresively scout for attacking talents – they will reap you richer rewards in terms of goals and have a higher sell on value and statisticians and analysts find them easier to analyse because their measurable stats speak volumes of their ability more so than a defender or a defensive midfielder.
Superficially, he is pretty much another “good” attacking midfielder plying his trade in one of the less fancied teams in La Liga – Real Sociedad.
But what will he bring to a team? What is his present role at Soceidad?
Lets analyse his last season statistics. (Only La Liga)
His pass completion rate stands at an impressive 80.7%. Shots on target is decent at 40%. He has a decent eye for the pass – with 1.1 key passes per game, but this will surely refine with experience. 10 goals and 3 assists is comaprable to Real Madrid newboy Isco (9G + 1 A in La Liga and 3G+3A in Champs League).
But where he stands out from the rest is his defensive contribution.
This is reflected in the very low Dispossesion score of 0.9 and Turnovers of 1.2, implying that he is a master when it comes to keeping the ball and not gifting it away.
He averages 1.7 tackles and 1 interception per game, which is considerably higher than even Gareth Bale – whose figures are 1 and 1.3 respectively.
(Considering that Bale transformed from left back to winger, Antoine Griezmann’s defensive stats are really impressive).
He is very balanced physically and also the chief set-piece taker for Sociedad. He is fairly adaptable as he moved to Spain at a very young age.
Since Real Sociedad are already in Champions League this season, it is unlikely that he will leave the Erreal. He may well use the Champions League as a platform to test his abilities and draw the attention of the elite.
A good athlete with an eye for both pass and goal and who is willing to drop deep for defensive contribution and who has incredible playing experience for a 22 year old (145 games for Sociedad) is a rarity these days. Given Antoine’s quality it won’t be long before he becomes the source of intense speculation with clubs vying for his signature.
Does your team need Antoine? Have your say.