What happens when you link a versatile 26-year-old attacker who has proven himself on the highest stage, to one of the biggest clubs in world football with an immense financial muscle? You get one of the greatest transfer stories of all time. Such is the drama which revolves around the much-speculated transfer, linking Atletico Madrid frontman Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United.
The French international started his senior career at Real Sociedad, and earned a move to Atleti after scoring 46 goals in 180 appearances during his 5 years at the club. Currently playing his 3rd season for the Rojiblancos, Griezmann has already scored 60 goals for the club. Most famously, Griezmann finished 3rd behind an obvious Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Ballon D’or finish in 2016. In the same year, the striker lost the Champions League final to city rivals Real Madrid, and the Euro’s to Portugal, despite being favourites.
This has left Griezmann somewhat frustrated, but the question here is will that be enough for United to lure Griezmann to Old Trafford?
Here are a few reasons why we think it may happen:
- Agent Vincent Rodriguez’s claims
“We’re at the stage of gathering information from clubs who have a concrete interest,” he told French television programme Téléfoot.
“United were the first to come and see us and the most concrete in their wishes.”
- Release Clause
Although the figure has not officially been disclosed, it is rumoured that Griezmann’s release clause is set at €100 million (£86.4m).
It is well established that Manchester United is one of the richest clubs in world football, having broken the world record to re-sign their former prodigy Paul Pogba for £89 million, just last summer.
It is rumoured that the United board is willing to let Jose` reshape the team in the way that he wants. Sports journalist, Guilliem Balague has stated, “I’m reliably informed that Man United are willing to spend in the region of £300m to £400m this summer to achieve what they want.”
- Paul Pogba
It’s no secret that Paul Pogba shares a close relationship with Griezmann, as we have seen on their social media, while away on international duty. Countrymen help players adapt to a new club quickly, so Pogba (along with Martial), will be pivotal in the transfer of Griezmann.
- Griezmann seems Interested
Griezmann, quoted on dailystar.co.uk, said: ‘I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure.
‘I ask Paul about some of the players, and if they’re really that good, or if Jose Mourinho is really that good.
‘You hear a lot of things (speculation) about Manchester United and Paris St Germain but right now I don’t see me moving to a new club. But It would be awesome to play alongside Paul one day.’
- The Premier League
Refute it all you want, but the Premier League is undoubtedly the best league in the world. The best players, the best managers, most money- can all be found here. So, for Griezmann too, this, will definitely be an attractive place to ply his trade next season.
- David Beckham
Yes, David Beckham. “I wear long sleeves when I play because of Beckham, he did as well and he is my idol,” Griezmann told Onda Cero. “He had a lot of class on and off the pitch. That is what I liked about him. No one had the right foot he had. I’ve never spoken to him but I would like to.” If the transfer materializes, I’m confident that a meeting between the two can surely be arranged.
He also admitted that he wears the number 7 shirt because of the former United winger. He would also be happy to know, that his favoured jersey number is vacant as of this moment, since United sold Depay off to Lyon this January after a disappointing spell.
- Theo Griezmann
Antoine’s brother Theo is a giant Man United fan, as suggested by his passionate Twitter rants during United games. Surely not one of the most solid reasons, but we are confident that Theo will add something to this transfer rumour.
Reasons why the transfer won’t happen:
- Diego Simeone
When asked if Griezmann stayed at Atletico Madrid last summer because of Simeone, the Atletico boss replied: ‘Well, that’s what he told me: ‘If you stay, I’ll stay.’
So clearly, Simeone is a huge factor in this transfer story. The Argentinean manager has groomed Griezmann into the kind of the player that he is, and it is clear that the forward still owes allegiance to his boss. Meanwhile, Simeone has been linked to Arsenal and his former club Inter.
- Champions League Football
Atletico Madrid finished their 2014 and 2016 campaigns as the UCL runners-up. And they see themselves in the semi-final again this year, facing the nightmare that is Real Madrid. But it is beyond clear, that Atleti are now one of the European heavyweights, who are imminent to win the trophy sometime soon.
Manchester United, meanwhile, are having troubles even qualifying for the tournament. The club still has 2 ways to qualify for the competition next year. They could either win the Europa League or finish in the top 4 of the PL, both of which, while within reach, are tough to achieve, especially given their injury woes.
- Not a Monopsony
If United feel that they are the only buyers in the market for the pacey forward, they are highly mistaken. Big clubs like Real Madrid, Man City, PSG and Chelsea are also in the hunt for the striker. So, Mr. Woodward will have to act reasonable, if he wishes to get his man this summer.
- Atleti’s New Stadium
This is Atletico Madrid’s last season at the Vincente Calderon. The club will officially move to the Wanda Metropolitano. The top management at the club have, on more than one occasion, expressed their desire to retain Griezmann at least for their first season at the new stadium. This could not only stall the transfer by a year, but rather force United to look elsewhere.
- Griezmann’s Daughter
Antoine Griezmann has previously stated that he wouldn’t like to move, as his daughter Mia is very young, and that the family would have trouble adjusting. Manchester’s weather too, won’t bode well, when the Griezmann family compares it to that of Spain.
As insignificant as this reason might sound, it is a big issue as previously seen in the case of Dimitri Payet and Angel Di Maria who forced their way out of their respective clubs, and sealed a move to France.
Although the current situation of this transfer remains hazy, there is no question that United will do everything in their power to get their man this summer. What do you think?