It seems inevitable that Antoine Griezmann will quit Atletico Madrid for a big-money move to Manchester United this summer.
Jose Mourinho has made the France forward his primary target for the transfer window and is looking to fill the void that will likely be left by Wayne Rooney’s expected departure, and now the absence of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
That would leave youthful and less experienced options for the former Chelsea boss, in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, and the 54-year-old is desperate to add experience and world-class prowess to his front line.
Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette have been identified as alternative targets to Griezmann, should the Red Devils fail in their attempts to persuade Atletico to part company with their star man who has scored 25 goals in 49 appearances this season.
And the Madrid outfit are holding out for the £85 million that is set out in the Frenchman’s release clause, before agreeing to let their forward leave for Old Trafford.
United, however, will not be phased by such a figure – with Mourinho seeing Griezmann as the new leader of United’s frontline – but their chances could be dashed by Real Madrid, who are also interested in the 26-year-old.
Clearly, though, Atletico would sooner sell Griezmann to United than their cross-city La Liga rivals.
And according to Diario Gol, per the Mirror, Griezmann has given the Red Devils an injection of confidence by telling the Spanish giants that they will not stand a chance of acquiring him this summer, with his sights already set on a move to United.
With Ibrahimovic’s long-term injury having thrown doubt over whether the Swede will extend his one-year deal by a further season, it has become increasingly important that United secure their primary transfer target.
It now seems that there remains just one factor that is stopping Griezmann’s move to Old Trafford being little more than a formality.
Mourinho has threatened to ditch United’s bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League – which would secure them Champions League football – in favour of securing a place in Europe’s elite club competition by winning the Europa League this campaign.
United hold a 1-0 advantage over Celta Vigo after their first-leg win in Spain and will be favourites to not only go through to the final but go on to win the tournament overall.
It’s a risky strategy of qualification that the Portuguese boss seems willing to take, but should they miss out on the top four and fail to win in their anticipated appearance in the final, Griezmann may opt to stay put at Atletico.
The Rojiblancos are on the verge of exiting the Champions League after their 3-0 loss at Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final, meaning their quest for European glory is all but over.
United haven’t reached a Champions League semi-final in ten years, but that doesn’t look likely to sway Griezmann’s decision to join the Red Devils in the summer.