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Manchester United to finally sign Antoine Griezmann in the summer?

Manchester United have reported seen their chances to sign Antoine Griezmann raise after Atletico Madrid welcome to return of former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, which was confirmed on Tuesday evening, the player not being eligible to play until after the 1st January 2018, when the club’s transfer ban has been served. Griezmann was linked to United in the summer, the ban not being lifted which resulted in the French forward remaining in the Spanish capital for another season.

The fee for Griezmann will remain at €100 million, the release clause for the player, despite signing a new contract earlier in the summer. ESPN report that ‘sources’ have told them United will be looking to go on another summer spending spree in the FIFA World Cup year, securing their attacking line with another world-class player, which could devastate their Premier League rivals, if all goes to plan.

France international Griezmann will face Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League at the Wanda Metropolitano, will be a player many United supporters keep their eye on this season, as a move seems to be touted in the media, seemingly making many think Jose Mourinho has the signing in the bag already, which is a bit presumptuous. Mourinho did identify the player as a key target ahead of the summer, the transfer ban effectively scuppering the deal. Griezmann could have left, but he would not have been replaced, staying loyal to his club for another season.

Atletico Madrid claimed it would have been a ‘dirty move’ for the player to leave last summer, which is something I would agree with. United made a U-Turn, distancing themselves from the Frenchman after the news of the transfer ban being upheld broke, seemingly the media thinking the player’s reluctance to leave Atleti being one of the possible reasons for the U-Turn. Nothing making it clear as to the reason why. I am sure it will be speculated that an agreement for a year’s time was agreed instead, although there has been no clarification on that.

ESPN has suggested that sources have suggested United’s interest in Griezmann was shelved, rather than ceased, which could mean the interest could be revived in the summer, maybe even January, but that is unlikely. Griezmann did sign a new one-year extension to his contract, on condition that the €100 million release clause would remain in the contract, which could mean his path to Manchester could already be something which is being discussed, ready for a swift summer move as the World Cup will give little waiting time, especially with the transfer window in England closing before the Premier League season starts.

United have done well for themselves this summer, prioritising the signing of Romelu Lukaku over Griezmann, which also saw United have ‘passing’ interest in Alvaro Morata, who ended up signing for Chelsea after a potential move to Old Trafford was scuppered with the arrival of Lukaku, a former Chelsea player. Mourinho also re-signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a one-year contract, which will end at the end of the current season, although the player is on the sidelines recovering from the knee injury which ended his season in April, meaning he missed the UEFA Europa League final.

Next season, Ibrahimovic may not be part of the picture for United, his goals and winning mentality needing to be replaced, with Griezmann seemingly the player Mourinho may choose, which could also see the famous number seven shirt be occupied, the last occupant being Memphis Depay, who left for Lyon during the January transfer window.

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