The Lautaro Martinez transfer saga seems to be rumbling on everyday. The latest suggests that Inter have demanded Arturo Vidal and Antoine Griezmann in a potential deal and that is the players they want for a deal to happen. And in many ways, a deal like that will make sense.
What Antonio Conte is known for his affiliation to Fansbet Casino and a 3-5-2 system which deploys a bigger forward like Romelu Lukaku at Inter or like Fernando Llorente at Juventus. The second striker is someone who links up play and creates chances, apart from scoring goals himself. Those second-strikers are like what Lautaro is and what Carlos Tevez used to be at Juve.
They usually have a high work rate and are complete forwards in some ways. And Griezmann is someone who fits that bill.
Griezmann is used to playing that role too, having played in a 4-4-2 shape regularly at Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone. He would play beside a much bigger and a target-man striker. He would link up play, move the ball forward and that is very much what he did with France in the 2018 World Cup beside Olivier Giroud.
The current La Liga season with Barcelona has seen Griezmann play in a variety of positions ranging from the right flank, striker and the left-wing under Ernesto Valverde. The 29-year-old has managed to contribute to 12 league goals while playing 26 games. That isn’t a huge tally, but considering his changing positions and the instability due to the managerial change, it isn’t poor either.
But his last season with Atletico says a lot about him. Griezmann created a little over two chances per 90 minutes and 1.59 percent of his passes were through-balls. It shows that he thrives on playing slightly behind the striker so that he can setup others. He wasn’t exactly a dribbler, but took 3.18 shots per 90 minutes as he was receiving service from wide or from central defenders using direct long-balls.
That is very similar to what Lautaro does, feeding off service from wing-backs in Conte’s 3-5-2 system. And in that sense, if Martinez does leave, Griezmann fits right in even though he’s a slightly older option.
But as for Vidal, he knows Conte’s system and style more than many in football. At Juventus, he was the club’s controlling force in midfield. He was the tackler who worked like a lion and won it back and recycled it forward with some effect too.
The 2013-14 season saw Vidal make as many as 4.1 tackles per game at Juve. Apart from winning it back, the Chilean also scored 11 goals and got five assists. He was the proper engine that Conte loves. And in Nicolo Barella, he wants a similar player. While the Italian hasn’t had a poor season, he did sustain a broken leg injury and wasn’t as prolific a tackler as Vidal was.
Against Barcelona in the Champions League, it was Vidal himself who came back to bite Conte. The nerazzurri were 1-0 up until Valverde brought Vidal on in the second half. The South American took control of the game, made some crunching tackles, allowed Frenkie de Jong to play deeper and changed the complexion of Inter’s European fate. Barca won 2-1 and it showed the sort of midfielder Inter lack.
Getting Vidal in on a short-term deal will not just help Inter. Barella will have someone to look up to and through that, Inter can mould him into a prolific tackler and efficient ball-carrier. The nerazzurri do lack depth in that part of the pitch and Vidal can come in and change games when needed.
A deal like this would help Inter fix their issues and sell off a brilliant player at the right time. It will be sort of business that will help Conte get the sort of team he likes.
- The Data Zone: Bakayoko and Osimhen score one a piece in Napoli win - April 29, 2021
- EFL Cup Final: Mourinho’s Last Chance to Salvage his Spurs Stint - April 19, 2021
- Are merged domestic leagues the way forward for smaller footballing nations? - April 13, 2021