Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has revealed that Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann regrets not moving to Manchester United back in June.
The Frenchman, who has claimed 83 goals under Diego Simeone since arriving in 2014, was strongly linked with United for the entirety of last season. Any move, however, was contingent on whether Jose Mourinho’s side secured Champions League football for the 2017/18 season. Griezmann noted on French television a few days before United’s clash with Ajax in Stockholm that there was a “six out of ten” chance that he would complete a move to Old Trafford.
And those odds dramatically rose soon after United reached the Champions League group stages, with various reports claiming soon after the 2-0 win in Stockholm that the 26-year-old had handed in a transfer request and would complete a move to Old Trafford before the end of June. However, the complexion changed once Atletico’s transfer ban – which rules they cannot register any new players until January – was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following an unsuccessful appeal, with the Frenchman ultimately deciding to pledge his allegiance to Simeone – who wouldn’t have been able to replace him over the summer.
But Balague has noted that the striker had indeed set his sights on a move to Old Trafford earlier this summer and may look to force through a move in the future, despite seeing Mourinho spend £75m on Romelu Lukaku back in July.
“He is with a team which has played in Champions League finals and also won the league recently – more recently than Manchester United – so he is already at one of the top teams in Europe,” he noted.
“He is playing with the fans and he will continue to do that with teasing messages but it is quite clear he will consider a move to Old Trafford next summer.
“Quite clearly, he was determined to go to Manchester United and it’s just the fact he didn’t want to let Atletico Madrid down while they couldn’t sign anyone that made him decide to stay. He had made his mind up to go to Old Trafford though, so we will see what happens as 12 months is a long time.”
Griezmann did, after all, post this cryptic tweet whilst United were ripping apart Swansea City last weekend. He was later sent off for Atletico during their 2-2 draw with Girona after supposedly calling the referee a “f*****g bottler”.
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) August 19, 2017