Thursday 22 February 2018

Four reasons why Antoine Griezmann will sign for Manchester United next summer

France's Antoine Griezmann
France's Antoine Griezmann

After two stellar seasons with Atletico Madrid, topped off by an impressive campaign at Euro 2016, it’s little wonder that Antoine Griezmann has emerged as Manchester United’s next transfer signing.

The player is in the form of his life and possesses the potential to reach even greater heights.

Having scored 22 goals in his first two seasons for Atletico, Griezmann has already hit the ground running for a third consecutive year at the club, scoring four goals from four La Liga games so far.

Although the forward has publicly declared he is happy at Atletico, and recently signed a new contract with the club, there have been multiple reports linking Griezmann with a move away from the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

In light of such rumours, we take a look at four indicators that suggest Antoine Griezmann could well be on his way to Manchester United in the near-future.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone reduced his contract by two years

So what does that mean? Griezmann recently remarked that his future with the La Liga side would only be called into question if Simeone left the club. Before extending his current contract at Athletico, the Frenchman was reassured by his Argentine manager that he would be staying put for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann said: “The only doubt would be if Simeone leaves for PSG or wherever. I called him before extending my contract and he confirmed to me that he was staying.”

But with recent reports suggesting that Simeone has reduced his contract by two years, this could potentially push Griezmann to start considering his options beyond the Spanish capital. If the Argentine coach is close to calling it a day, the French star will have less incentive to see out his own contract. Such a development surely opens the door for United to swoop.

Griezmann turned down PSG

The French star revealed that he turned down the chance to sign for Paris Saint Germain this summer. Although the 25-year-old would undoubtedly thrive at a side that recently lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the play confessed he had no desire to join the club.

When asked last Thursday if he was aware of PSG’s interest, Griezmann said: "Yes, but as it was during Euros I told my agent I did not want to listen. I told him: 'I do not want you talking to me of Atletico or Paris - I want you to leave me in Clairefontaine [France's training camp].' But I know they were very interested.”

United the new ‘Galacticos’?

Although United have a long way to go to emulate the success of Real Madrid, when it comes to transfer policy the English side have begun imitating the European giants. The club have brought in a number of summer marquee signings over the years, similar to Madrid under the presidency of Florentino Perez.

Angel di Maria joined in 2014 for a then-record £59.7m and was followed by Anthony Martial one year late for £38.5m – though reports suggest that figure could rise to beyond £50m when add-ons are taken into account.

Paul Pogba’s transfer indicated that the club had well and truly taken a new financial step forward as they splashed out £89m on one of Europe’s hottest talents. On the back of these signings, Griezmann’s current £68m market value will do little to deter the English club as they seek to bring in another big signing.

The French connection

Jose Mourinho will be hopeful United’s French contingent can help further convince the player to join the club next year. The recent addition of Paul Pogba and French-speaking Eric Bailly has bolstered the side’s Gallic presence following Morgan Schneiderlin and Anthony Martial’s arrivals last year.

Griezmann is known to be particularly close with Pogba. Indeed, the France teammates joined up on holiday in Miami last July following the conclusion of Euro 2016. While it may be tenuous at the least to suggest that this 'French connection' could be enough to persuade the player to move – especially given he rejected PSG – it certainly won’t hurt United's cause when all factors are collectively taken into account.

Independent News Service

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