Friday 23 February 2018

Why the fee Atletico Madrid paid for Diego Costa has implications for Antoine Griezmann and Manchester United

France striker Antoine Griezmann turned down a move to Manchester United in June, but that move could now be revived (Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)
France striker Antoine Griezmann turned down a move to Manchester United in June, but that move could now be revived (Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

After weeks of speculation and plenty of wrangling over the transfer fee, Atletico Madrid's decision to hand over almost £60m to sign Chelsea's Diego Costa suggests they are already spending the money that will soon be banked from the sale of their star striker Antoine Griezmann.

Chelsea's transfer negotiators appears to have secured a wonderful financial deal after agreeing to sell a striker who will turn 29 in a couple of weeks for almost double the £32m fee that paid to sign him from Atletico in the summer of 2014.

While he played a key role in Chelsea's Premier League title triumphs in 2015 and last season, Costa's transfer value seemed to have plummeted when he was informed by Blues boss Antonio Conte that he would not be part of his plans in a text message back in June.

Atletico were reported to be offering a fee closer to the sum they initially received for Costa from Chelsea after the Brazilian-born striker confirmed the only club he wanted to join was his former club in Madrid.

Diego Costa scored 59 goals in 120 appearances during three years at Chelsea
Diego Costa scored 59 goals in 120 appearances during three years at Chelsea

Yet after rumours of a breakthrough in transfer negotiations last week, it was confirmed on Thursday that agreement had been reached for the sale of Costa to Atletico, with the inflated fee involved fuelling the belief that a deal for Griezmann to move to United may already be in place.

Griezmann turned down a move to United after Atletico Madrid failed to get their transfer ban lifted, with the Frenchman who was believed to be United manager Jose Mourinho's top transfer target refusing to walk out on his employer as they would not have been able to replace him.

After reports in several Sunday newspapers last weekend suggested the deal to take Griezmann to United remains in place and merely needs to be activated by the Old Trafford club, the huge fee paid out by Atletico for Costa suggests they are already spending some of the money they will get from selling their star striker.

Part of the agreement in place for Griezmann to move to United is believed to include a provision for him to be handed the iconic No.7 jersey that has been worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years.

Tellingly, that shirt number has been left vacant at United this season and with Costa now on his way back to Atletico Madrid, Old Trafford transfer chiefs may be tempted to try and re-open the door for to sign Griezmann ahead of next summer if Mourinho feels his side are in need of a major mid-season boost ahead of the second half of this season.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport