Even though the transfer window SLAMMED (why can’t it just close?) only last week, reports are already surfacing that both Manchester United and Chelsea are setting their sights on a 2017 transfer tussle.
The man at the heart of their head-to-head battle is understood to be Antoine Griezmann, with the six-goal EURO 2016 Golden Boot-winner seen as an ideal recruit by both Premier League sides.
It’s not difficult to work out why, either. The 25-year-old has been staggeringly good for Atletico Madrid over the course of the last two seasons, netting 44 La Liga goals as well as nine in the Champions League as he’s transitioned from being a pacey, promising winger into an all-out attacking machine.
We at FFC Towers think, from a Man United perspective, it’s vital that Jose Mourinho’s men win the intense race for Griezmann, and here are FIVE reasons why…
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) September 1, 2016
As alluded to by Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones, Man United are looking at Griezmann as a potential long-term successor to Wayne Rooney. The Old Trafford skipper will be approaching 32 in 12 months’ time, and with his mobility already under scrutiny, it won’t be long before selecting him week in, week out as an attacking third player becomes questionable.
Griezmann, although he can play as a centre-forward, isn’t what you would call a natural striker, with his skills suited to a roaming role just off a main man up top, and we saw how lethal he was in tandem with Olivier Giroud in France’s EURO 2016 side, with his ability to break beyond his partner lethal.
The perfect man to accompany Zlatan Ibrahimovic if he’s still around? Seems so. Plus, we all know Mourinho loves a physical striker, and Griezmann has shown an ability to function alongside one.
Last season Griezmann smashed 22 goals in La Liga action. Although that figure was dwarfed by the superhuman efforts of Luis Suarez as he crashed in FORTY for Barcelona in the same division, he was the highest non-Barca or Real Madrid goal-getter across the campaign, two above veteran Athletic Bilbao ace, Aritz Aduriz.
Goals win games, and injecting a player with a proven record at the top level – Griezmann has netted nine in Champions League action over the last two seasons as well as a further 22 in La Liga during 2014/15 – would seriously improve Man United’s potency.
Man United shattered the trend of the biggest players on the planet heading to La Liga over the summer by capturing Paul Pogba in a world-record £89m deal, and moving to add Griezmann to their ranks in just under a year’s time will further solidify their claim to be one of the planet’s truly elite teams.
With a release clause of £84m in place, Man United are likely to have to match that fee given that Atletico are banned from registering new players until January 2018, thus preventing them the chance to replace their key man, which is the sort of money to again grab headlines.
It may not be the ideal bedrock from which to build transfer plans, but keeping him from Chelsea, or another mega side such as Manchester City, is a wise move.
Simply put, if Man United don’t sign Griezmann, it’s likely another side will eventually, and with few players of the 25-year-old’s quality in existence, other options are thin on the ground.
The Manchester Evening News have already claimed that Man United’s vast French-speaking contingent is seen as a positive in their camp as they lay plans to sign Griezmann, and there’s no doubt that it would help the attacker settle.
Indeed, the Atletico man has played alongside Pogba for some time at international level, and the two could become the future of the Old Trafford side’s starting XI.