La Liga Duo In Manchester United Sights
Manchester United could make a double move next summer for Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann. However, they will do well to sign both players.
Speculation over Bale’s future has increased since he picked up another injury last weekend. The Real Madrid forward has now missed 40 of his side’s 60 games and he looks set to be sold next summer.
Real will demand around £50million for Bale. Tottenham Hotspur have an option to re-sign the Wales international who left the north London club for Spain in an £85million transfer in 2013. But Bale would have to lose at least two-thirds of his £350,000-a-week salary if he moves back to Spurs. That means United are in the box seat as they would be able to offer him a deal that comes pretty close to what he currently earns.
However, a move for Bale could result in United missing out on a player who is still their prime transfer target for next summer: Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann. The France international is available for a release fee of €100million (worth around £86million) although that doubles to €200million from 1 July 2018.
But Real Madrid will make a move for Griezmann as Bale’s replacement. They could mount a serious challenge to United. The forward has always shown a certain amount of loyalty to Atletico – a loyalty that could be put seriously to the test if their arch-rivals come calling. The two clubs had a pact whereby neither would make a move for the other’s players. Real blew that out of the water during the summer when they paid the release fee for full-back Theo Hernandez.
Manchester United will still feel they have an advantage for Griezmann – who would still have to live in the Spanish capital and face the day-to-day wrath of Atletico fans if he moved to the Bernabeu. Barcelona are also interested.
According to The Sun On Sunday, representatives of the two clubs met during the international break to discuss terms. For Atletico to discuss any exit for their star player sounds unlikely. Plus they would insist on terms that would see United pay the €100million up front with no strings attached.