Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has started the ball rolling on what could prove the biggest transfer of next summer’s transfer window.
The Old Trafford manager has been encouraged to make a bid for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, with the French international openly stating his interest in joining the Premier League side.
The 25-year-old is quoted as stating
‘I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure,’ the Griezmann admitted.
‘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.’ (Via the Metro)
These comments have understandably excited Man United fans, not least as their side is experiencing a lean period of form since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from his pot, and Mourinho has instructed chief executive Ed Woodward to push on with efforts to bring in the Euro 2016 star.
Having spent a world-record £89m fee to sign Paul Pogba over the summer it appears Manchester United are keen to subsidize any move for Griezmann with the inclusion of player exchanges and their offer is set to be worth in the region of £116m when you factor in the projected value of relevant parties.
United would offer a cash fee of around £75m and would offer Atletico Madrid their selection of three first-team players to help sweeten the deal.
Those who will be made available would include Memphis Depay, who cost Manchester United £25m just over a year ago, Morgan Schneiderlin, another player who set the club back over £20m, and defender Marcos Rojo.
Right-back Matteo Darmian could also be available but it’s likely the Italian will head towards the Manchester United exit in January, with a move back to Serie A on the cards.
Griezmann would fit perfectly in Mourinho’s attack and given Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s advancing years and Wayne Rooney’s fall from grace, a move for the La Liga star looks all the more enticing.
Manchester United are a club looking to put their stamp back on world football after falling from the top table but Mourinho knows that his side must have Champions League football to offer in 2017/18 to have any chance of luring Griezmann to the club.
Griezmann made a name for himself at Real Sociedad where he proved to be a very effective big fish in a relatively small pond, used primarily in a role behind an out and out forward but since moving to the Vicente Calderon he has matured into a leading striking weapon.
Over the course of his two and a half seasons in the Spanish capital Griezmann has bagged 50 goals in 84 La Liga appearances, netting 65 goals in all competitions, and his effectiveness in the final third was further displayed in this summer’s European Championship finals where he finished as top-scorer with six goals.
Atletico Madrid currently sit down in fourth place in La Liga, behind traditional rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as Villarreal and if Diego Simeone’s side do not impress this term then Griezmann may well push for a move if a genuine offer is filed.