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Antoine Griezmann; Old Trafford’s next mega-star?

The third placed 2016 Ballon d’Or winner, Antoine Griezmann, needs little introduction to football fans across the world. The Atletico Madrid forward is regarded as one of the best attackers on the planet and his La Liga goal scoring record of 106 goals in 286 games proves why. Notorious for his agile dribbling, rapid burst of pace and a clinical eye for goal, the Frenchman has showcased his world-class ability on a consistent basis for the last four years, both at club level and also internationally.

Having joined Real Sociedad’s academy back in 2005, Griezmann was given his league debut at the age of just 18 and impressed majorly during his five-year stay at the club, providing as a deadly finisher out on the right flank. His high-class performances thus resulted in a €30 million move to the newly crowned La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid, where he has developed his game even further and has since established himself amongst the world’s elite.

With numerous clubs reportedly being interested in Griezmann it seems Manchester United do face tough opposition in signing the French forward. However in my own opinion, United should go all out in an attempt to sign the Madrid star as he would strongly bolster United’s front line whilst also solving their goal-scoring problem.

What is being reported and by who?

The real question is who isn’t reporting about the Griezmann transfer scenario? It seems over the past two/three years that the Frenchman has been linked with every club under the sun but following recent speculation, it seems this summer will finally be the time we see Griezmann change his scenery.

Both ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Daily Star’ have reported that a world record fee for the player has been agreed upon by both clubs in the estimated region of around €100 million. Both sites have credited their source as being Vincent Rodriguez (a former FIFA accredited agent), who has recently sparked outcry on Twitter by announcing that both clubs have indeed agreed on the financial terms. However, we must be careful not to read too much into his rumour, as he was the agent back in 2015 that claimed United had agreed on a deal with Pedro.

Whilst a lot of rumours and speculation seem to circulate around Griezmann, there does seem to have been a legitimate breakthrough following news from the striker’s advisor. Sky Sports reported the advisors statement this morning as, “There is Manchester United, they told us about their project. They were the first and the most solid in their enquiry.” The report today clearly implies that there is interest from the Red Devils but it is also clear that there is no standing agreement in place. Sky Sports have also reported that both Manchester City and Chelsea are reported in signing Griezmann and thus it looks set to be a battle amongst many clubs this summer in order to capture the striker’s signature.

Type of player

As mentioned, Griezmann is recognised as being one of the most dangerous forwards on the planet. Notorious for his incredible goal scoring record (26 club goals this season), Griezmann is clinical in and around the box with his coolness in one on one scenarios whilst also possessing a great long-range strike.

Being a versatile player, Griezmann is able to operate as a lone striker, out on either wing or in the No.10 role, the latter being his preferred position at Atletico Madrid. In this role, Griezmann is able to affect the game across all areas of the pitch, whether it be keeping possession in tight spaces with his close touch and passing or driving forward with the ball, something he seems to do with such ease. Griezmann’s quick pace also provides as a devastating tool on the counter attack and is something that can also be utilised out on either flank or down the middle by himself.

Likelihood of the transfer

Although the Griezmann embargo seems to circulate in every transfer window, it seems this may be the Summer the Frenchman does finally move onto another club. Despite signing a new contract back in May 2016 and having a minimum release clause of around €100m, clubs are evidently not phased by what it will take in securing his world-class talent.

Although Griezmann’s advisor has publicly named Manchester United in being interested, I wouldn’t read too much into this as it could purely be a stunt in sparking off competition for the Frenchman and thus raising his price tag. On the other hand, with Atletico Madrid being more hesitant to sell to their league rivals in Barcelona and Real Madrid, it seems the Premier League is the route Griezmann will most likely take. Although Chelsea, United and City are seemingly the only clubs with the financial package to lure the Frenchman over, we may me able to rule City out of the run in as their priorities in the transfer window seem to be elsewhere, most particularly as they already have Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Kelechi Iheanacho in their squad. Come the summer, it seems most likely it will be a battle between Chelsea and United for Griezmann and thus makes UEFA Champions League qualification all the more important for the Red Devils.

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