Manchester United face competition from Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann. Reports today claim he has asked the Catalan side to pay his €100million (£87million) release fee to Atletico Madrid.
United were close to signing Griezmann at the end of May. However, the decision of the Court Of Arbitration For Sport to uphold Atletico’s year-long transfer ban scuppered any deal.
Griezmann signed a new deal with Atletico that saw his wages rise but also his release clause. That went up to €200million before dropping back to €100million after the Spanish transfer window closed on 1 September.
Barcelona are also being linked with Griezmann. Some reports from Spain claim he is more interested in a move to the Nou Camp rather than a switch to Old Trafford as he wants to remain in La Liga. He has asked Barcelona to pay up his release fee.
But there are also claims that Barca have lost interest in the France international following his poor start to the season. Griezmann has scored six goals in 15 games for Atletico – including three in his last two games. However, he got off to a similarly slow start last season. By the end of November 2016 he had scored seven goals in 17 games for Atletico in all competitions. His scoring record only increased after Christmas. He scored 17 goals from the turn of the year to the end of last season.
Barca may find Griezmann’s clause too much especially if they go ahead and spend another €100million or so on Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho in January. The club are already at 84 percent of their wage bill for the year following Lionel Messi’s mammoth new contract.
Griezmann’s hope for Barca to pay up his release fee may be forlorn, especially if the second half of his season fails to take off.
Manchester United aren’t out of this one yet.