Tuesday 25 July 2017

Antoine Griezmann says 'rumours unfounded' as Manchester United hit in bid for three high-profile signings

Antoine Griezmann may be ready to make a decision over his future after Atletico Madrid's Court of Arbitration verdict on Thursday
Antoine Griezmann may be ready to make a decision over his future after Atletico Madrid's Court of Arbitration verdict on Thursday

Jack Austin

Antoine Griezmann has poured cold water on any potential move to Manchester United in a blow to Jose Mourinho’s pursuit of three high-profile signings this summer.

The Atletico Madrid forward was expected to make the move to Manchester and don the No 7 shirt previously worn by his idol David Beckham at Old Trafford in a deal worth £86.7m.

The move was in doubt but after United confirmed their Champions League status for next season by winning the Europa League on Wednesday night they were confident they would get their man before the end of June.

Griezmann has previously revealed – before United were confirmed as in the Champions League – that there was a “six out of 10” chance he would join Mourinho’s side and that he was “ready to leave” the Spanish capital.

However, he has gone back on those words in a tweet on Friday night, where he branded all the speculation regarding his future as “unfounded”.

His tweet translated as: “All the rumours are unfounded, I’m always Colchonero. My direction will be established after discussions with my sporting advisors.”

This will come as another unwanted setback for the club’s board, who are desperate to dodge another drawn-out transfer saga like the one they went through to bring Paul Pogba to Old Trafford last summer.

As well as Griezmann, Mourinho also wants Torino’s Andrea Belotti to play just in front of the 26-year-old, although that might involve also paying a buy-out clause of around £85m if they cannot agree a deal with the Italian club, and the chances of that are seen as “50-50”.

The signing of Burnley’s Michael Keane is seen as much likelier, with the former United centre-half having said to friends that it is his probable destination.

Mourinho also wants a midfielder to complement and help release Pogba. There is long-term interest in Paris St-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi as well as Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko, but Chelsea are expected to complete the signing of the latter.

Independent News Service

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