Saturday 19 August 2017

Manchester United transfer target Antoine Griezmann tells Atletico Madrid he wants to leave

Miguel Delaney & Ed Malyon

Manchester United moved one step closer to signing top target Antoine Griezmann on Tuesday as the French international told Atletico Madrid he wishes to leave.

The Vicente Calderón club have been insistent that their star player is staying in Madrid, but with a release clause of just €100m (£87m) this has always been out of their hands and the decision was always likely to be with the player.

That decision appears to have been taken, with Griezmann confirming to Atletico what his entourage had been leaking to United for months - that he was ready to swap La Liga for the Premier League - as reported first in January.

Crucially, the Old Trafford club secured Champions League football with their win over Ajax in the Europa League final and ticked the final box on Griezmann's list. The 26-year-old forward now just needs to finalise personal terms and await Manchester United activating his release clause.

The Independent revealed last week that United wish to tie up Griezmann's arrival before the end of June to avoid a protracted saga, like the signing of Paul Pogba last summer.

It will also allow the club to cash in by using the former Real Sociedad forward for commercial activities on their pre-season tour, and at least two of the club's partners are understood to have reserved time with Griezmann for 'activation' purposes.

Jose Mourinho is also targeting Michael Keane, of Burnley, and Torino forward Andrea Belotti as he looks to strengthen and refine a squad that still has many of Louis van Gaal's fingerprints on it.

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