David Ornstein has revealed he was told Arsenal would have signed Antoine Griezmann in 2017 if they’d qualified for the Champions League.
Now a World Cup winner playing for Barcelona, a lot has changed for Griezmann in the last few years. According to David Ornstein, things could have gone in a very different direction back in 2017.
Arsenal were on the hunt for a new striker, and Griezmann was reportedly the priority at the time.
“I was told that if Arsenal had qualified for the Champions League in 2017 they would have signed Antoine Griezmann,” Ornstein said (via The Athletic). “But missing out for the first time in 20 years ended their hopes on that one.”
The Gunners only finished outside the Champions League places by a single point, missing out for Liverpool on the final day of the season.
Arsenal still signed Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the next season, so it wasn’t all bad news. However, the frustrating irony is that it was Griezmann who ended up sealing the club’s Europa League fate again the following year.
Despite remaining with a Champions League club in Atletico Madrid, Griezmann ended up playing in the Europa League after a third-place finish in the group stages.
They met Arsenal in the semi-final and Griezmann was the star performer as they edged through to the final 2-1 on aggregate. He scored the confidence-destroying away goal in the first leg after Arsene Wenger’s side had only managed to score once against Atletico’s 10 men.
Just another one of those ‘almost’ signings of the old regime, which we hope won’t be so commonplace now.