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Antione Griezmann linked with Manchester United once again; would he be a player worth the gamble?

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has been linked with an exit from the La Liga club for some time now. Manchester United was a club hotly linked with the player in the summer of 2017 but a transfer ban meant that the player decided to remain in the Spanish capital. Last summer, a move to Barcelona was on the cards but a video released by the player eventually announced that he was staying.

This summer looks set to be another unpredictable one with the player as it is suggested that he could be on the move again. Third time lucky or what? Is Griezmann still a player that will obtain the interest of the elite clubs around Europe? This season he has been in good form, scoring 22 goals and 11 assists in 46 appearances for his club, in all competitions. Could he achieve figures similar playing in a different league though?

It has been reported in Spain that Griezmann would like to get a move to Barcelona back on the table. This has been reported in Mundo Deportivo, as reported by Sport Witness, also in AS. However, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Griezmann as a priority and the Barca supporters are said to not be all that keen on the player, presumably after his video last summer, which was a bit cringe-worthy, to say the least.

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Griezmann currently has a €200 million release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract but on the 1 July 2019, that will reduce to €120 million, which is something that could attract other clubs in Europe, if they are in the market for another forward. It is obvious that the media, especially in Spain, would link United to Griezmann, who turns 28 in a few days time. Could United be interested in the player though? That is the question.

Currently, United have a lot of rebuilding to do in order to become the team they used to be. United scoring goals is a problem at times and the creation of goals has not been the best over the last two matches. Could there be some scope to add a player like Griezmann to their ranks? United need to strengthen many areas of their squad this summer but perhaps not in the form of a central striker.

Griezmann can play in a number of positions but has predominantly played as a central striker for Atletico Madrid this season, although he has, sparingly, played as a centre attacking midfielder, a right midfielder and a right-winger. However, that does not necessarily mean that he would or could solve any of United’s problems. United has players who are competent in the striker role, despite not scoring often enough.

Would a €120 million outlay be something that Ed Woodward would put up just to get another striker, which could add more problems for players such as Marcus Rashford, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood into the team? Granted, Rashford is already a regular starter but his progress could be hampered by the arrival of Griezmann. It would only be logical if Romelu Lukaku wanted to leave the club this summer.

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Woodward would probably be interested in signing a world-class player this summer but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested that superstar players are what the club should be targeting, which is something that I agree with. There are many teams out there that have world-class players in most, if not every position – that does not necessarily make them the best teams in the world.

Look at Paris Saint-Germain for instance. They have many great players but over the years, the UEFA Champions League has never been something the club has managed to grasp, exiting the round of 16 over the past three seasons (including this one) and reaching the quarter-finals the four seasons previous. Having great players is not always the recipe for success – throwing money at a problem isn’t either.

Solskjaer, if he is given the Manchester United job, which is something I believe should be the case, may choose to take things in a much different path for United. There are many teams out there that are bringing in lesser-known players who have certain skills and talents and these teams are developing these players. This is what United seems to have forgotten is all part of their DNA. For me, Griezmann can find another destinastion.

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.

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.

Manchester United, the vacant number seven and the chase of Antoine Griezmann

Manchester United and the famous number seven shirt are both written in history whether it be George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo or one of the many not to succeed wearing the shirt, it is a shirt which is vacant this season and has been since the departure of Memphis Depay during the January transfer window. During the last summer transfer window, Jose Mourinho and United were tipped to sign Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann but after the transfer ban for the Madrid club was upheld earlier in the summer, the player chose to remain in the Spanish capital, seemingly ready to move on in the summer of 2018 with United still waiting in the wings for the player, or at least that is what is being touted now.

Come January 2018, when Atletico’s transfer ban is lifted, movement could be made on the future of the French forward, who renewed his contract with the club in the summer, days after the ban was upheld, scuppering any prospective move to the Old Trafford club during the summer, which was speculated after the ban was upheld. United did not end up bringing in a winger, despite Mourinho looking to do just that with Croatian forward Ivan Perisic mooted since the Portuguese manager was seen in Croatia during the international break in March, which saw speculation run rife over Perisic, a player who ended up remaining at Inter Milan with nothing concrete happening on his transfer, despite the media making out something was happening.

At this moment in time, United have started the season brightly, winning three and drawing one of the first four Premier League matches, sitting pretty at the top of the table, albeit on goal difference and also getting a good start in the UEFA Champions League, beating FC Basel 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the week. United will be pitted against Everton at the Theatre of Dreams this Sunday in the league before starting their defence of the Carabao Cup (EFL Cup) next Wednesday, entertaining Burton Albion at Old Trafford. United have utilised Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata on the wing, something which has worked well so far, but a boost would work well too – Griezmann could be that boost.

With the number seven shirt remaining vacant this season, likely to not have a bearer of the shirt for around 18 months, since the departure of Memphis Depay, the summer, or even January if things go well, which is unlikely, could well see a new name wearing the famous shirt – something which carries a lot of pressure and post-Ronaldo, has not always worked for the players graced with that number. Griezmann, a target for Mourinho still, could be that bearer of the shirt. United, according to reports, have set £100 million aside to seal the deal for the Frenchman at the earliest convenience, which will be in the summer, possibly even after the FIFA World Cup, which gives a matter of weeks before the closure of the transfer window ahead of the new season.

Whilst United would like to think they have a clear run at Griezmann, there will be clubs who have the money to go head-to-head with them. Not Paris Saint-German, they pushed the boat out this summer by signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, albeit on loan, but next summer they will have to pay Monaco for the player, which may keep them out of spending another small fortune on a player. Barcelona, who were after Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho during the summer, failing to land their man, could challenge United for Griezmann, but Atletico would be sure to want to sell the player abroad, rather than strengthening their rivals in La Liga, which would be a mistake.

Mourinho has started something at Manchester United over the last year. Gone are the days of United regressing, now the manager has regenerated the club, brought back the winning mentality which had got lost post-Sir Alex Ferguson and with the arrival of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, the certainty of Mourinho continuing his trophy laden career at the Old Trafford club is high, especially after guiding his club to the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season, targeting the Premier League and an Emirates FA Cup double this season, along with a berth into the last eight in the Champions League will make the season successful which could lay the foundations for another good summer.

Antoine Griezmann transfer wheel continues to turn…

Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has not asked to leave Atletico Madrid according to Sky Sports who suggest a spokesman for the La Liga club has suggested yesterday’s news was nothing but rumour. There is no smoke without fire and this seems to be just another transfer saga which will probably lengthen with different stories being reported in the media, just like last summer with Paul Pogba and the confirmation of his switch to the Theatre of Dreams came well after midnight not long after United beat Leicester City to lift the FA Community Shield at the start of August. There seems to be something new each and every day with media websites drawing the reader in to the latest in this summer’s biggest transfer saga.

In the last few weeks, Griezmann was asked on television the chances out of ten for him to leave Madrid for Manchester United. He said six, meaning there was a 60% chance he would leave for the Theatre of Dreams. Days after this, he hit out at the rumours surrounding his future, which were started by himself only days before, which seemed a bit pointless, to be honest. These latest reports will most probably be taken with a pinch of salt with many suggesting the transfer is all but done, which obviously means it is not done! Antoine Griezmann would be a great signing for United, one who could help the club on the road back to their best, which is something we all want to see from the club. The last season ended well for United, but it needs to be a foundation to build on.

“All the rumours are unfounded. I’m still Colchonero. My direction will be established after discussion with my sporting advisor.” – Antoine Griezmann on social media

A week ago, United beat Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final in Stockholm, Sweden, securing UEFA Champions League next season, with is not something they could achieve with their lowly league position in the Premier League, finishing sixth, which was the first time the club has finished there, meaning they had finished seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth in the four seasons post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Griezmann has scored 26 goals in 53 appearances for Atletico Madrid during the past season and has a €100 million (nearly £87 million) release clause in his contract, which would need to be activated before completion of the deal could take place.

Since Jose Mourinho became the United manager, we have seen the likes of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba arrive at the club, plus the links to Griezmann, Ivan Perisic and many more. The Portuguese manager is creating something at the club this summer, aiming to turn United into title contenders taking on the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal – all the teams that finished above them in the league, not to mention Everton, who at a point seemed to be hot on United’s heels in the league. One thing is for sure, Mourinho is a winner, instilling that winning mentality in a club which had to a point lost it.

Antoine Griezmann asks to leave Atletico Madrid, Manchester United bound?

Manchester United have been linked with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann for around about a year now with reports last summer the Jose Mourinho would sign him the following year – this summer. For months now, the reports have been rife with the player himself fanning the flames with his ‘six out of ten’ prediction that he would sign for Manchester United this summer. Many seem to think the deal is all but done, but it seems far from it, but still likely. The Independent have reported today that the Frenchman has asked to leave Madrid this summer, with United waiting in the wings to activate his €100 million (£87 million) release clause to seal the deal, which would be one of the biggest deals of the summer. United do need attention to their squad this summer with a reliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season up to the point he injured his knee missing the remainder of the season, including the UEFA Europa League final.

Atletico Madrid had insisted that their star player would remain at the club who will move to a new stadium this summer. With the release clause being present in the player’s contract and the willingness of a club to pay that fee, that insistence in Griezmann remaining at the club was ill-thought out as looking at it, they do not actually control the situation. If a club is ready to activate the release clause, the player is on his way out of the club. That will be a big blow for Atletico, but they will be well-rewarded with the €100 million fee for the player, which would mean it would be the second big season for United where they have paid a massive transfer fee for a player who will go along way to complete the side Jose Mourinho is trying to build at the club. Paul Pogba signed for United in a world-record deal last summer, one which has been criticised by many – most saying the player was a flop despite him being consistent from his time at Juventus, playing in a much more difficult league.

Griezmann is one of the best players in world football right now and with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi getting older, it will only be a period of time before younger players start to rule the roost like the pair has done over the years. Antoine Griezmann, if he is playing for the right club, with the right players has the ability to set the world on fire. United would need to attention in their squad though as they cannot go from being reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to being reliant on Griezmann – that will not change much. United will need to become the team every supporter wants them to be – that attacking power who defends on the attack, scoring goal after goal. This summer Mourinho will be looking to bring just that – which will make us all happy. United have had a barren period, but the arrival of Mourinho, along with Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba last summer lifted spirits and gave us all something to hope.

The returned with United winning the FA Community Shield, the EFL Cup and ending the season by lifting the only major honour the club have failed to win, the UEFA Europa League, finishing the season with a double, or treble if you want to give the Liverpool supporters something to whine about. The fact that, despite not being one of the best teams in the Premier League over the last season, United have won two major cup competitions, suggests that there is something in the team to be taken forward to new heights. Griezmann and others will be of benefit to United and Mourinho in achieving that, pushing the club further forward in their quest to challenge for the Premier League title, needing to take on Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal – all of the clubs who finished above them last season.

United are back to where they belong, achieving UEFA Champions League football next season, which was one of the key targets in order to land players like Griezmann. Now that seems to be in the bag, it could only be a matter of time before Griezmann is on his way to Manchester for a medical and to completed his transfer to the Theatre of Dreams. I still remain skeptical of such a deal happening as if any other clubs are willing to pay the price to lure the Frenchman, it could make things difficult for United. The player worshiped David Beckham at a stage in his early life and probably still does today. His brother is a United supporter so that being said, it would be difficult to see him play for another club, but money does talk. We shall see what happens.

copyright: JW