'I have said all season that I wanted to stay' - Antoine Griezmann reveals why he chose to stay at Atleti
Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann has revealed the real reason why he turned down a move to Manchester United, with his version of accounts backing up our exclusive story on Independent.ie last Friday.
United insiders claimed that they had ‘cooled’ their interest in Griezmann last Thursday, despite a high profile six-month pursuit of the France striker that was expected to end with a €100m transfer to Old Trafford.
Yet United officials were fully aware that Griezmann would not make a move this summer if Atletico were unsuccessful in their bid to lift the transfer embargo imposed on them by FIFA after they broke rules over signing of junior players.
Once the Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out Atletico’s appeal against their transfer ban on Thursday, Griezmann was always certain to stay with his club rather than walk out on them when they had no option to replace him.
United’s bid to win the publicity war by claiming they had pulled the plug on the deal was ridiculed by sources close to Ateltico and now Griezmann has offered what may be a somewhat embarrassing version of events for Old Trafford chiefs.
“I have said all season I have said that I felt good and I wanted to stay. Now the transfer embargo has been imposed,” Griezmann told Telefot.
“With the directors of the club, we have decided to stay. There is still a beautiful season to be done and we hope to get some new signings in January.
“It is a difficult moment for the club, for the players, and it would not be right to leave now. I have spoken with the directors.”
This is not the first time United have tried to claim they were not interested in players they tried and failed to sign.
Old Trafford ‘sources’ made claims that they decided to withdraw from negotiations over deals for Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and Pedro after they failed in their bid to sign players, but it seems these leaks are little more than an attempt to win a PR war after a transfer setback.
United are now being heavily linked with moves for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, so presumably we can expect stories suggesting they didn’t want either player if they fail to arrive at Old Trafford.