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Manchester United ‘reportedly’ leading the race for France forward

Manchester United are reportedly in the driving seat for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, at least according to John Cross of The Mirror. United were set to land the Frenchman during the summer but the fact that Atleti’s transfer ban was upheld saw the player remain with the Madrid club. Griezmann has ‘reportedly’ made it clear that he wants to leave the Madrid club with an £89 million release clause in his contract. Atleti are now seeking to sell the Frenchman as it may become a struggle to keep manager Diego Simeone.

United may still face competition with Real Madrid seemingly interested and Barcelona said to be interested in the player but with the signing of Philippe Coutinho this week, the Catalan club may remove their interest in the player. With the reluctance for Atleti to strengthen a cross-city rival, it would, according to the report, see United in the driving seat for the player, even though some of the media suggested United had ended interest for him, which could be true or false, meaning this report could be click bait on a slow news day.

£89 million would demonstrate good business, especially in the current market for a player such as Griezmann, but his form this season is not the same as last season. If Atleti can gain interest from a number of suitors they may be able to cause an auction for the player, seeing the fee increased for him but if a club activates his release clause, it may well be over in that instance. In a World Cup year, I am pretty sure that Griezmann would want his future sorted before the tournament in Russia starts, which would end all speculation, allowing his to concentrate for his country.

Signing Griezmann will not be so easy for United though, according to The Sun as they report the player will demand £400,000 per week to sign for the Old Trafford club. Which if true would not make him look like a mercenary at all! For a player to even think about demanding that sort of money on a weekly basis, especially having a much poorer season than last, is laughable. The fact it comes from The Sun makes me laugh even more. They probably got the report from Don Balon like the rest of the rumours they publish. The Sun carry quotes from a supposed source, saying:

“The goalposts have moved significantly since the first attempt to sign Griezmann. The package offered last year which was agreed is now a lot less than what he wants next summer. It might be too much even for us to afford. The club is desperate to sign him but it is an awful lot of money. His people are making different demands which the club might be reluctant to give in to.”

This season in La Liga, despite Atletico Madrid’s resurgence, currently sitting second in the league some nine points adrift of Barcelona, it has not been a great season for Griezmann. The Frenchman has made 15 appearances in the league, scoring five goals. Griezmann has created 24 chances for his teammates, also boasting a shot accuracy of 66%. His passing accuracy stands at 79%, which is not the best, averaging a distance of 15 metres per pass. Defensively, Griezmann averages at least one defensive action per match, which may fit in at United.

In the UEFA Champions League, Griezmann has played in all six matches, scoring two goals. He has created seven chances for his teammates and has a shot accuracy of 31%, which is poor by his standards. His passing accuracy stands at 84%, which is higher than in La Liga, also averaging a pass length of 14 metres, slightly lower than in the league. Griezmann still averages at least one defensive action per match in the elite European competition. However, he will be playing in the UEFA Europa League during the second half of the season.

I don’t think Griezmann will move clubs this month but in the summer it is all very likely. Atleti have brought Diego Costa back to the club and he has played his first football this season, already scoring goals for his club and earning a suspension on his La Liga debut. It may all change in the second half of the season, depending on how Atleti does but in the summer, a move away will beckon. Whether that is to Manchester, Barcelona or further afield, we shall wait and see.

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