Manchester United eye Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann after Pedro snub
Manchester United look set to launch a bid for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, according to The Telegraph. As per the report, United manager Louis van Gaal has lined up the French international as replacement for Pedro whose signing was confirmed by Premier League champions Chelsea yesterday, having been linked with the Reds for more than a month.
Griezmann, ironically, was a one-time Chelsea target but moved to Atletico Madrid last summer after his splendid performances for France at the 2014 World Cup caught the eye of manager Diego Simeone. He had already spent five seasons in Spain with Real Sociedad before sealing the £30 million switch to the Vicente Calderon on a six-year contract.
He has lived up to the price tag so far scoring 25 goals across all competitions in the 2014/15 season, including 22 in the La Liga – the highest in a season by a French international in the Spanish top flight. The performances have understandably attracted interest from the big clubs and the Spanish side have reacted by including a £56m buyout clause in the player's contract.
The English side are in the market for a forward with only club captain Wayne Rooney and Mexican international Javier Hernandez as the recognized first-team strikers at the club. The former has failed to score in his last nine competitive fixtures for the club and despite Van Gaal’s public backing of the 29-year-old, the Dutch manager is looking at bolstering the attack further.
United unsure about moves for Muller and Mane
Apart from Pedro, United have also been linked with moves for Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller and Southampton forward Sadio Mane.
Van Gaal, who handed Muller his first taste of first-team action at Bayern when in charge of The Bavarians in 2009, have been hot on the heels of the 25-year-old all summer. They rejected a £50-million from United last week and despite club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stating that the player is ‘not for sale’ at any price, United have kept on the chase having reportedly submitted an improved bid of £60-million for the forward, a couple of days ago.
United registered their interest in Mane after it became clear that Pedro was not heading to Old Trafford. The 23-year-old Senegalese international, who scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history in the match against Aston Villa last season, can play either up front or on the wings fitting perfectly into Van Gaal’s philosophy.
Saints manager Ronald Koeman, who shares a fractious relationship with his former manager at Ajax, shot down the approach stating that the player will not be leaving St.Mary’s anytime soon.
“We don't have to sell any more players. That is very clear. Nobody is going away from Southampton,” Koeman said, according to The Mirror. With Bayern also unlikely to do further business with United, having already let go of Bastian Schweinsteiger who moved to Old Trafford this summer, Griezmann has emerged as the new primary target.
Griezmann’s tweet – More to it than what meet’s the eye?
United played Club Brugge of Belgium in the Champions League qualifier 1st leg on Tuesday night. Though United managed to win the match 3-1, Rooney failed to find the back of the net yet again. The forward did, however, have one pretty interesting follower on Twitter.
Though it looked a harmless tweet at the time, following the recent developments one is forced to wonder whether there was something more to it.