Saturday 22 July 2017

Mourinho aims to pair Griezmann with Morata in summer swoop

James Rodriguez celebrates with his Madrid teammate Alvaro Morata (left) during their victory at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday night. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
James Rodriguez celebrates with his Madrid teammate Alvaro Morata (left) during their victory at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday night. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho wants Antoine Griezmann to form a new Manchester United strike partnership with Alvaro Morata, which offers Real Madrid encouragement in their pursuit of David De Gea.

Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann has long been identified as United's top summer target and the Frenchman is in line to be handed a contract worth around £17 million a year, more than £300,000 a week, at Old Trafford.

Following the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, added to the expected departure of Wayne Rooney, Mourinho wants another striker who can play just in front of Griezmann and has identified Morata.

As he plans for a Premier League title assault and European football next season, either in the Champions League or the Europa League, Mourinho feels he needs three forwards at the club who all offer something different. The Portuguese is excited by the thought of having Griezmann, Morata and Marcus Rashford at his disposal.

Spain international Morata is seeking to leave Real Madrid this summer and had told friends that he believed he would join Chelsea, who bid for him 12 months ago.

Read more: Manchester United 'in talks' to sign a replacement for David de Gea - reports

But Chelsea's interest has cooled as they have identified Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez as targets ahead of Morata, which leaves the door open for Mourinho to try to bring him to England.

United have also been linked with Lukaku, currently the Premier League's leading scorer, but the Belgian has set his heart on returning to Chelsea, where he believes he has unfinished business, and Mourinho rates Morata higher. Morata has had limited opportunities at the Bernabeu this season, but has still scored 18 goals for the La Liga giants.

Real are thought to value Morata at around £40 million and hope that United's interest will help to smooth De Gea's path to Madrid. The signs in recent weeks are that Mourinho may be willing to let De Gea join Real this summer and replace him with Atletico Madrid's Slovenian international goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

There were claims this week that Oblak's representatives flew to England for talks regarding a potential move to United.

United are also cautiously optimistic that they may be able to persuade Tottenham Hotspur to sell Eric Dier, who they will promise a midfield spot to, with a bid in the region of £40 million. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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