Manchester United are sizing up another bid to sign Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann after Diego Costa completed his move to the Wanda Metropilano last week, according to reports.
Jose Mourinho had pin-pointed the Frenchman as a primary option during the early stages of the 2016/17 season and speculation surrounding a potential move to Old Trafford never died down throughout the campaign, with any move seemingly contingent on whether United qualified for the Champions League.
Rumours predictably oscillated between the move being imminent or out of the question until Griezmann, just a few days before United’s Europa League final against Ajax, revealed on French television that there was a “six out of ten” chance of him joining up with Mourinho over the summer. The triumph in Stockholm only fanned the flames further and it was thought that a move was a matter of “when” rather than “if”.
However, a court ruling in June which overruled Atletico’s appeal against a transfer ban until January 2018 left Griezmann in an awkward situation. Diego Simeone would not be able to replace him until five months into the season and the club, in turn, placed an astronomical€200m release clause on his head, while Griezmann decided to commit his future to Atletico out of loyalty to his manager, signing a one-year extension.
But talk of a move has never gone away. United’s interest in Griezmann was only placed on the back-burner rather than abandoned over the summer. Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently noted that the French international would be a United player if it wasn’t for Atletico’s worldwide transfer embargo, and with Costa joining Atletico and the Spanish club, in response, reducing his release clause to just €100m, ESPN sources have confirmed that United have reignited their pursuit of Griezmann ahead of the January transfer window.