Tuesday 17 September 2019

Griezmann edging closer to €98m United move

Griezmann’s impending arrival will almost certainly signal the end of Rooney’s 13-year career at Manchester United. Photo: Getty Images
Griezmann’s impending arrival will almost certainly signal the end of Rooney’s 13-year career at Manchester United. Photo: Getty Images

James Ducker

Antoine Griezmann has given the clearest indication yet that he will join Manchester United this summer as Wayne Rooney prepares for what is likely to be an emotional end to his Old Trafford career when the club face Ajax in the Europa League final tomorrow.

United are preparing to trigger the €98m release clause in Griezmann's contract with Atletico Madrid and the Frenchman last night claimed that negotiations over a move to Old Trafford were 60 percent complete.

Asked on French television about the prospect of joining United, Griezmann admitted it was "possible" and said he expected his future to be resolved in the next fortnight.

Griezmann is due to marry his fiancee, Erika Choperena, in Madrid this weekend and plans to go on honeymoon once France's games against Paraguay, Sweden and England next month are out of the way.

United have been discussing the framework of a deal for Griezmann with third parties for months and are now close to signing the 26-year-old, whose close friendship with compatriot Paul Pogba has been a factor in the player's willingness to leave the Spanish capital.

Griezmann's impending arrival will almost certainly signal the end of Rooney's 13-year career at the club.

Rooney is expected to start among the substitutes in Stockholm as manager Jose Mourinho goes in search of a second major trophy this season and, with it, qualification for next season's Champions League.

United are due to fly to the Swedish capital today, with midfielder Marouane Fellaini confident of being fit.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are facing deepening defensive uncertainty ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final with Chelsea after Gabriel was ruled out and it emerged that Shkodran Mustafi will be assessed daily this week after showing signs of concussion.

Mustafi suffered a blow to the head against Sunderland last Tuesday and, although he completed the game and gave a post-match interview, he later felt ill and was left out of Sunday's match against Everton.

Laurent Koscielny was sent off in that game and is suspended for the final, leaving Arsene Wenger facing the prospect of having Rob Holding and Per Mertesacker as his only fit and available senior centre-backs. Mertesacker, though, has not started a first-team game for more than a year.

It all means that Nacho Monreal is almost certain to start in a three-man defence with Holding and either Mustafi and Merteseacker.

A big question-mark is also still hanging over the choice of goalkeeper, with Wenger having played David Ospina in the Champions League and FA Cup this season ahead of Petr Cech.

© Daily Telegraph, London.


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