France take on Paraguay this evening down in the south of France, the game will be played at OGC Nice’s home, the Allianz Riviera, but it won’t be an opportunity for Arsenal target, Antoine Griezmann, to top-up his suntan. Franck Ribery’s back injury is still giving the Bayern Munich winger problems, so the Real Sociedad forward is due to start his third consecutive game for Les Bleus in the crucial build-up games for the World Cup.
After making his debut against Netherlands in March, he was highly impressive as France dispatched of Norway last Tuesday evening, in front of an 80,000 strong crowd in the Stade de France, Arsene Wenger was present for TV station TF1 and now the Arsenal boss will have another chance to run the rule over the 23-year-old at close quarters.
Speaking in March, manager Arsene Wenger said: “We are following him [Griezmann] in great detail. He attracts other clubs as well but we follow him, he is a known commodity.”
Those other clubs are known to be Manchester United; Liverpool and French champions Paris Saint-Germain, even Chelsea have been mentioned in recent weeks. It is clear that Griezmann is one of the hottest properties in European football right now and with every game he plays for France the exposure and interest grows.
Against Norway on Tuesday he showed that he can play very effectively beside Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, and tonight he will have the chance to link up with another Arsenal target, Karim Benzema, in the France front-line.
Griezmann is building up a very strong case that he should be the player to start on the left-wing for France at the World Cup. If Ribery is not able to recover from his back problem before the last friendly against Jamaica next week, Griezmann’s case becomes stronger and stronger.
He has yet to score or provide an assist for France in his two games, but he has looked very sharp and has instantly struck up a relationship with his international teammates.
There were rumours last week that the London club had made a £18 million bid for the Frenchman, if true it won’t be long until other interested clubs made a similar bid, it is time for Wenger to make his French connections count and get this deal done before Griezmann becomes a world star in Brazil this summer.