Barcelona will consider entering the race to sign Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann next summer, potentially scuppering Jose Mourinho’s transfer plans once again, according to reports.
Griezmann agreed a new deal at Atletico this summer, following intense speculation that he would leave for Old Trafford. The Frenchman said it would have been a “dirty move” for him to leave given the transfer ban placed on Atletico that would have prevented it signing a replacement.
So Griezmann stayed, but the move just looked to be delayed. That looked especially true when the club bought Diego Costa back from Chelsea (though can’t register him until January), and when Griezmann’s new contract still had the same buyout clause. His move to United still seemed likely.
But now, it seems, Mourinho has a rival, and an old rival at that. The club he worked for as an assistant, and has come up against frequently throughout his managerial career, is looking to swipe their top target next summer.
According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona will meet Atletico’s asking price of £89 million (about $117 million), which United is also reportedly willing to match. So, it may either become a bidding war between the two clubs or Griezmann will have to make a decision between the two.
The 26-year-old Frenchman is believed to be friends with United midfielder Paul Pogba, who reports suggest played a big role in the capture of Romelu Lukaku from Everton in the summer. United, once again, looks an attractive proposition. Although not the three trophies he would have wanted, Mourinho delivered silverware in his first season at the club and took it back to the Champions League. This season, he is already building on that as United sits joint top of the Premier League with Manchester City.
Barcelona, meanwhile, is top of La Liga with seven wins from seven games in Ernesto Valverde’s first season at the club, but there is uncertainty off the field. Neymar left in the summer for Paris, and it remains unclear whether Lionel Messi’s future lies at the Camp Nou. An opportunity, perhaps, for Griezmann to become one of the leading men at Barcelona. Griezmann will likely have a decision to make.