After weeks of blatant refusal from both the player as well as the club, news of Antoine Griezmann being very close to agreeing a move to Manchester United has been quite surprising for the fans. Though Jose Mourinho was hell bent on getting the French marksman to his squad, it sounded quite improbable to many for obvious reasons and the rumour mill left no opportunities of throwing up alternative options in his place.
This is the first breakthrough in United’s pursuit of the 26-year-old forward and if reports are to believed, the Red Devils are expected to shell out something in the region of €100 million for the player, which comes to £86 million.
Though Mourinho has got his team selection wrong occasionally this season, his philosophy has remained the same throughout. United have relied solely on the counter-attack, which is the main reason Mourinho couldn’t fit in the ageing Wayne Rooney to the side often.
Now, with Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to leave the club at the end of the season, the Portuguese will leave no stones unturned to get the kind of players that can execute his method to perfection. Griezmann plays in a similar manner for La Liga side Atletico Madrid, who relies heavily on the opponent to make mistakes and capitalise on that. And his manager Diego Simeone trusts the centre-forward with his life when the team is on the break.
It is true that Manchester United have an option to extend the contract of Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming summer and if Griezmann does arrive, we don’t expect that to happen. Griezmann is in the prime of his career now, where he cannot stop scoring, and Mourinho would want to get the most out of him in front of goal as the centre-forward; which would mean Zlatan playing the second fiddle on the bench and that simply doesn’t happen in real life.
Griezmann has been nothing short of phenomenal this season keeping up his prolific scoring. He has netted 14 goals and 8 assists in the current season, being directly involved in 10 goals in Atletico’s last 10 games. Since moving to Vicente Calderon from Real Sociedad, he has scored a staggering 79 goals and 24 assists in 147 games.
The figures speak volumes about the player’s efficacy to whichever side he plays for and how significantly Atletico depends on him. And given that teams like Barcelona and Manchester City are all his admirers and his contract at the club runs till 2021, it isn’t easy to believe that United have actually sealed a deal.