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Are Manchester United set to sign Antoine Griezmann for €100 million?

Manchester United could be set to make another move for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann after the striker’s release clause was lowered to €100 million.

After turning down a move to Old Trafford this summer, Griezmann signed a new contract with Atleti, agreeing to an increased release clause of €200 million (around £184 million).

This was a double blow to United, who had seen their number one transfer target reject a move to the club and then sign a new deal making it even more difficult to prise him away from the Spanish capital.

Everything seemed set for Manchester United to sign the France international earlier this summer, only for Atletico to be hit by a transfer ban that would prevent them signing a replacement. After weeks of speculation surrounding his future, Griezmann made what seemed to be a dramatic U-turn and chose to stay in Spain, signing his new contract and announcing his intention to stick with Atletico Madrid amid such difficult circumstances.

“It’s a tough time for the club and it would be a dirty move to leave now.” – Antoine Griezmann, June 2017

But Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo have suggested that the automatic lowering of Griezmann’s release clause was triggered by the end of the summer transfer window. As Atletico’s transfer ban will be lifted in the new year, they will be eligible to sign players again from January 1st when the window reopens. Rumours continue to suggest the Spanish club will redouble their efforts to sign Diego Costa from Chelsea, leaving Griezmann free to pursue his own move, safe in the knowledge that his club have found a suitable replacement.

News of Griezmann’s release clause follows quickly on from confirmation earlier this week that he would have indeed made the move to Old Trafford this summer had it not been for FIFA’s decision to uphold the transfer ban.

Earlier this week, the Independent reported that Eric Olhats, Griezmann’s former agent and mentor, reiterated that the French forward was likely to move this summer before the sanctions were announced.

“Griezmann didn’t feel able to leave Atletico.

“He’s been integral to them and has shown his commitment to the club at a time when they couldn’t sign players. Without the FIFA sanctions he would have gone.”

Manchester United went on to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton, before re-signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer. Despite such an embarrassment of riches in the forward positions, including Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, United would still be interested in Griezmann should he be available in the future.

His ability to play in wide positions or as a no.10, as well as an out-and-out striker, means that Mourinho would still love to add such a talented forward to his ever-improving squad.

€100 million, which would equate to roughly £92 million, is only marginally more than United paid for Paul Pogba in 2016. Griezmann is still one of the hottest prospects in European football and one of the most talented footballers on the planet. In the current market, with astronomical fees being reported for average players, signing a forward of this quality for £92million would unquestionably be a bargain.

The script has been written. The window may have only closed a few days ago, but it seems we have the makings of the next big transfer saga already.

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