The future of Antoine Griezmann has already dominated the headlines for most of the season and looks set to be this summer’s blockbuster transfer. The France international’s advisor has already claimed interest from Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, but where will he end up? And is there any chance at all that Atletico Madrid can keep hold of their most prized asset? Let’s examine the options…
The new Manchester United No.7?
Despite smashing the transfer record last summer by bringing in Paul Pogba, Jose Mourinho’s men have largely underwhelmed this season and are expected to splash the cash once more with a move for Griezmann.
The Red Devils have been over-reliant on 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic for goals this season and desperately need to add some zip and guile to an attack that has been profligate all season long.
Memphis Depay’s departure in January has also rather handily left the no.7 shirt open and Griezmann’s versatility would fit in well with a squad consisting of the likes of Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and of course Pogba.
One stumbling block could potentially be a lack of Champions League football at Old Trafford next season with a top four finish looking unlikely, although victory in the Europa League would suffice.
However, the club can also point to the fact that they had the prestige and financial might to bring in both Ibrahimovic and Pogba last season despite not being in Europe’s top competition.
A controversial switch to Real Madrid?
Could Griezmann really swap Atletico for Real Madrid? While it seems unlikely the tabloids have been talking up a switch in recent weeks and controversial as it would be, it can’t be completely ruled out.
The forward has even been asked several times about a possible switch to los Blancos and while he has always played it down his advisor has insisted there is interest from Zinedine Zidane’s side.
“There is an existing clause of €100m which is unavoidable,” Eric Olhats told Telefoot. “We’re thinking right now about the most suitable offer.
“Real Madrid and other clubs are part of this thinking process.”
Certainly there seem likely to be changes at Madrid this summer. Karim Benzema has not had his best season and while Alvaro Morata has shone, he has frequently been left on the bench, will he continue to put up with that?
Swapping Atletico for Real would incur the wrath of the fans, but having watched his side utterly dismantled by los Blancos in the Champions League, Atleti are now 20/1 to qualify for the final, Griezmann could be forgiven for being tempted.
The outsiders – Chelsea, Barcelona or Manchester City?
Let’s not forget of course the other top sides that have been linked. Chelsea are rumoured to be interested in a top forward this summer with Diego Costa reportedly ready to leave and certainly possess the finances to fund a move.
The Blues look destined to finish the season as champions, possibly even double winners, and have already qualified for next season’s Champions League, meaning Stamford Bridge is certainly an attractive proposition.
But so too is the Etihad Stadium and the chance to work with Pep Guardiola. City already possess huge quality in attack with Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho.
However, Aguero’s future at the club is far from secure, having been dropped for Jesus earlier this season, and the club have already been heavily linked with a move for Alexis Sanchez, suggesting they are in the market for a forward.
And finally there’s Barcelona, who already possess arguably the greatest attack in world football with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez smashing the goals in.
Is there room for Griezmann too? Probably not in all honesty, unless Barcelona shift formation and play four in attack. The club may also struggle to afford the Frenchman let alone find a place for him in their team.
One more year at Atletico?
Or maybe Griezmann will simply opt to stay at the club he joined from Sociedad. The 26-year-old has repeatedly played down talk of a move away this season insisting he sees no reason to leave.
He has also previously admitted he would stay at Atletico while Diego Simeone is in charge.
The Argentine famously reduced his contract last year, it now expires in the summer of 2018, but he has been heavily linked with a move to Inter – a former club he openly admits he wants to manage.
However, it’s worth remembering that despite the sensational job Simeone has done, and continues to do, Griezmann has only won the Spanish Super Cup during his time in Madrid.
Atletico’s rivals are expected to spend big this summer and if he stays where he is, he could struggle to add to his trophy cabinet, and that elusive Balon d’Or may just remain out of reach.
Indeed it seems more likely that this will be his last summer with the Rojiblancos – the only question now is where next?
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