Reports: Manchester United to bid £89 million for La Liga superstar in January
What's the story?
Manchester United are set to launch a fresh bid for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann in January, according to multiple reports in the British Press. The Frenchman was already close to a move in the summer but then backed out of a move to the Premier League after the Rojiblancos were hit with a transfer ban.
However, Diego Costa's move from Chelsea to Atletico Madrid has opened the door for Griezmann to leave, with the Frenchman reportedly having Diego Simeone's blessing to leave in the summer. However, Manchester United are keen on bringing in the striker in January itself, to strengthen their bid for the Premier League and are hopeful that a record fee for Atletico will tempt them to sell early.
In case you didn't know...
Antoine Griezmann has hogged the spotlight with his performances for Atletico Madrid and France on the European stage, which saw him finish third in the Ballon d’Or nominations in the 2015/16 season. Griezmann came through the ranks at Real Sociedad, where his performances caught the eye of many top European clubs, but with the youngster reluctant to leave Spain, he moved to Atletico Madrid for a massive fee of €30 million in the summer of 2014.
The heart of the matter
The Frenchman has scored 86 goals in 166 games for Atletico Madrid in all competitions, although he had a relatively quiet 2016/17 season. Griezmann was close to joining Manchester United in the summer, rating the chance of the transfer as '6 out of 10' in a widely publicised interview. However, after Atletico were hit with a transfer ban, the striker decided that leaving Diego Simeone's side would be a 'dirty move'.
Things have changed now that Diego Costa has arrived and can play from January, with Saul noting that the Spaniard will keep Griezmann on his toes, saying "For sure the arrival of Costa will put all the forwards on alert, including Griezmann." United may face competition for Griezmann from Chelsea, who are also interested in bringing the Frenchman to the Premier League.
Manchester United are desperate to land the striker, who is seen as the ideal foil for Romelu Lukaku upfront. Red Devils legend Gary Neville has already voiced his approval, saying "Having been in Spain for four months, I love Griezmann. I would love to see Griezmann at United. He's quick, he's inventive he can beat players he can score goals. We can get a lot better. I'd like to see one more flair player in the team. I'd like to see a winger who can beat a man and get everyone on the edge of their seat."
Atletico Madrid's Champions League ambitions remain ever present, and with Griezmann settled in Spain, Diego Simeone might have a great chance of ensuring that his star stays. Given the astronomical sums that are pervasive in football nowadays, it seems likely that Atletico will demand more than the €100 million Manchester United are offering to even consider a sale in January.