March 19, 2019
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has been linked with an exit from the La Liga club for some time now. Manchester United was a club hotly linked with the player in the summer of 2017 but a transfer ban meant that the player decided to remain in the Spanish capital. Last summer, a move to Barcelona was on the cards but a video released by the player eventually announced that he was staying.
This summer looks set to be another unpredictable one with the player as it is suggested that he could be on the move again. Third time lucky or what? Is Griezmann still a player that will obtain the interest of the elite clubs around Europe? This season he has been in good form, scoring 22 goals and 11 assists in 46 appearances for his club, in all competitions. Could he achieve figures similar playing in a different league though?
It has been reported in Spain that Griezmann would like to get a move to Barcelona back on the table. This has been reported in Mundo Deportivo, as reported by Sport Witness, also in AS. However, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Griezmann as a priority and the Barca supporters are said to not be all that keen on the player, presumably after his video last summer, which was a bit cringe-worthy, to say the least.
Griezmann currently has a €200 million release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract but on the 1 July 2019, that will reduce to €120 million, which is something that could attract other clubs in Europe, if they are in the market for another forward. It is obvious that the media, especially in Spain, would link United to Griezmann, who turns 28 in a few days time. Could United be interested in the player though? That is the question.
Currently, United have a lot of rebuilding to do in order to become the team they used to be. United scoring goals is a problem at times and the creation of goals has not been the best over the last two matches. Could there be some scope to add a player like Griezmann to their ranks? United need to strengthen many areas of their squad this summer but perhaps not in the form of a central striker.
Griezmann can play in a number of positions but has predominantly played as a central striker for Atletico Madrid this season, although he has, sparingly, played as a centre attacking midfielder, a right midfielder and a right-winger. However, that does not necessarily mean that he would or could solve any of United’s problems. United has players who are competent in the striker role, despite not scoring often enough.
Would a €120 million outlay be something that Ed Woodward would put up just to get another striker, which could add more problems for players such as Marcus Rashford, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood into the team? Granted, Rashford is already a regular starter but his progress could be hampered by the arrival of Griezmann. It would only be logical if Romelu Lukaku wanted to leave the club this summer.
Woodward would probably be interested in signing a world-class player this summer but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested that superstar players are what the club should be targeting, which is something that I agree with. There are many teams out there that have world-class players in most, if not every position – that does not necessarily make them the best teams in the world.
Look at Paris Saint-Germain for instance. They have many great players but over the years, the UEFA Champions League has never been something the club has managed to grasp, exiting the round of 16 over the past three seasons (including this one) and reaching the quarter-finals the four seasons previous. Having great players is not always the recipe for success – throwing money at a problem isn’t either.
Solskjaer, if he is given the Manchester United job, which is something I believe should be the case, may choose to take things in a much different path for United. There are many teams out there that are bringing in lesser-known players who have certain skills and talents and these teams are developing these players. This is what United seems to have forgotten is all part of their DNA. For me, Griezmann can find another destinastion.