Griezmann used Manchester United interest to get a better Atletico contract, says Filipe Luis
The French striker was a high priority in Jose Mourinho's list of transfer targets this summer
What's the story?
According to Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis, Antoine Griezmann had no plans of signing for Manchester United and only used the Premier League club's interest to secure a better contract. Griezmann was Jose Mourinho's primary target this summer but a deal failed to materialise.
"Griezmann is a kid who speaks very clearly," Luis said in an interview with Spanish news outlet El Mundo. "Often players talk when they feel they are not being valued as they deserve. Then they get more attention. He would have had many offers from many teams.
"A player of his size wants to be up with the biggest in terms of contract and value," he continued. "And that is fair since Griezmann is doing great here.
"In the end, for all the talk about other clubs, he always wanted to stay here and he is still here, happy and liking it."
In case you didn't know...
The Red Devils were keen on securing Griezmann's signature to add to their formidable attacking lineup following an injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The French striker was in their long-term plans and an £87m bid was on the table to activate his release clause (€100m).
However, Atletico's transfer ban was upheld and it made things difficult for both clubs and the player to come to an agreement. Eventually, United dropped their interest and Griezmann signed a new contract to keep him at the club till 2022.
The heart of the matter
In May this year, Griezmann himself had revealed in an interview that there was a chance of him moving to the Old Trafford club.
When pressed on the probability of a move, the 26-year-old had said there was a "6 out of 10" chance that he could move to the Premier League.
But once the transfer ban was upheld, Griezmann's ex-agent said that was the sole reason he stayed behind. However, the new contract also saw his release clause remain the same (€100m).
Video: Griezmann's highlights from Euro 2016
This is not a new phenomenon. A number of players have held their clubs hostage when it comes to contract renewals and, in this case, the situation worked in Griezmann's favour.
The transfer ban may have worked in Atletico's favour, though, as the Frenchman clearly did not really want to leave them high and dry. However, it did see his wages doubled and it's smart business on the player's part before he eventually parts ways with the club for a bigger contract elsewhere.