Antoine Griezmann and Manchester United is a story surely will not go away anytime soon. The 25-year-old, who managed to finish 3rd behind Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo at the Ballon d’Or awards this year, remains linked with a transfer to United. Not to mention that The Sun is now claiming that the team has already secured the services of leading French agent, who will help facilitate a £60 million move around next summer.
The prospect of the star athlete to leave Atletico Madrid will keep growing. While he signed a new contract this June, he made it obvious that the possible move was mainly influenced by Diego Simeone’s constant presence. Simeone’s decision to bring forward end on his current contract by two years and his persistent hints towards his future in Milan suggest that he may also be considering his options.
There is no doubt that Manchester United have the bankroll to meet Antoine’s £85 million release clause. However, what is more, important is the forward provided something that sounds a lot like a come and gets me plea last month, which revealed that he has been nagging his good friend Paul Pogba over what the life is like in the red part of Manchester.
Thus this is shaping up to be the transfer saga of next year. With United still down from their fall, the arrival of another star athlete will make sense. However, there could be a couple of issues for the club to overcome if they want to get their man.
Will he replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
There is absolutely no doubt that Ibrahimovic has been an immovable figure of United’s attack this season since he was rested only once and missed out on the matchday squad on only one other occasion because he was suspended. The ex-Sweden international signed a 1-year deal with the option of another year in next June, and Manchester United have already made it clear they will be activating it. Ibrahimovic also seems to have plans to stay beyond the terms of his current contract.
Antoine Griezmann’s rise to one of the best in the world has been aided his move into the central position, which is where we saw the best of him in the club. In May he told Goal that this success is also due to his post in the forward line, where he can do more damage to the opposition defence.
Will it limit Paul Pogba’s growing influence?
United will create a team around Pogba. Currently, a formation of 4-2-3-1 with Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick deployed in deeper midfield roles will provide the Frenchman with the opportunity to do what he wants without leaving his side exposed through the mid. Mourinho is very happy with this system he and Mourinho might stick with it in the long-term. If he finds a long-term replacement for Carrick, who will turn 36 in 2017.
However, if Griezmann joins the party next year, that will need a revision. If we assume that Ibrahimovic will continue to lead the line and Griezmann will be used in a supporting striker role, it will certainly push Pogba back into one of the deeper midfield roles. Thus, forcing Mourinho to drop either Herrera or Carrick out of the equation. It is obvious to the fans of United this season how important Carrick’s presence has been to Pogba’s improvement. However, Herrera is a candidate for the club’s athlete of the season in his role.
However, we should not forget about Anthony Martial.
Recently, United have become accustomed to using athletes out of their natural positions, so can they do the same with Antoine Griezmann? However, Man United already have another Frenchman who does not mind his role. He may have struggled a bit during this term, but Anthony Martial’s impact during the last one was superb and to date has scored the total of 21 goals for the Red Devils.
Even thou, Martial impressed most after he came in from the left, he sees his future as a central striker. If Griezmann is or replaced in his favoured role, he might block Martial’s path.