Antoine Griezmann has been linked to Manchester United in an £86 million move from Atletico Madrid and it only seems like a matter of time before the France international joins the club. Here are five reasons why Griezmann is the perfect fit for United.
Memphis Depay has left for Lyon and, as Mark Ogden discusses here, the Manchester United No. 7 shirt has been left in tatters since Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Real Madrid in 2009. The famous jersey needs a world-class player, who has experience of the grandest stage of all, to ensure that it is back where it belongs in the minds of the fans. Griezmann is young, but has plenty of experience behind him and the mental strength to ensure that the burden of expectation does not overcome him. He already wears No. 7 for Atletico, so just keep it free for him until the summer.
When Paul Pogba arrived this summer for £89.3m from Juventus, it was a statement of intent. Yes, United might not be in the Champions League, but they can still attract the best players in the world because of their brand, history and the players they have already at the club. Pogba’s move came as a surprise to some who thought he might prefer the brighter lights of Barcelona or Real Madrid, but United were forthright in their plans to bring the midfielder back. Even if they fail to finish inside the top four again this season, capturing Griezmann would be a major coup. It would tell the world that United will be back on top of the European game before long and would be a major feather in the cap of under-fire executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
“I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure… it would be awesome to play alongside Paul one day.” These words came straight from Griezmann’s mouth in November and sent tongues wagging all across Europe. Teammates for the France national team, Griezmann and Pogba have clearly struck up a friendship off the pitch and are keen to make sure it continues at club level. Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have shown already this season what rewards can come from a good understanding on the pitch, and it may not be long before he is striking up a similar relationship with Griezmann.
After a stellar year where he finished top scorer at Euro 2016, Griezmann finished third in the Ballon d’Or voting behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But, notably, he was left off the FIFpro World XI team, which was quite a snub. With all due respect to Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone, Griezmann will want to raise his profile for his next big move, which may be the 25-year-old’s last at the peak of his powers. United are a different prospect — the richest, and arguably the biggest club in the world — and the striker will certainly be keen to take his career to the next level.
Ibrahimovic and Didier Drogba are two examples of players that may point to the fact that Jose Mourinho usually likes to have power and strength up front over speed and guile, but Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have found success under the Portuguese in less direct roles.
Mourinho likes to counter and Griezmann has plenty of speed; Mourinho likes his players to be technical and Griezmann has a great first touch. He wants an entertainer who can finish? Look no further.
Griezmann will want to spearhead the United attack on his own and, when Ibrahimovic moves on or retires in a year or so, will be perfectly poised to do so. If he joins in the summer, he may have adjust by playing in a wider role for a while, but he will certainly enjoy more freedom at United than he did under Simeone’s relentless pressing approach in La Liga. The good news for United fans is that he still scored a host of goals at Atletico while trying to juggle his defensive duties — with less tracking and harassing to do, they can expect even more.
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