Manchester United sought dialogue with Antoine Griezmann and his representative last summer to assess the possibility of signing the France international, Sky Sports can exclusively reveal.
When director of football John Murtough and recruitment consultant Tom Keane flew to Spain to formalize a deal for Casemiro in August 2022, they made calls to set up a meeting with Griezmann’s camp in Madrid to understand his situation and his feelings around a transfer to Old Trafford.
The multifunctional player was on loan to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona at the time, but his playing time was limited due to a clause stating that a permanent purchase option of 40 million euros (35.2 million) would be triggered if he played half the game. minutes for which he was available.
This caused a weird situation where Atletico boss Diego Simeone only used Griezmann after 60 minutes given Atleti’s financial constraints.
United wanted to know if the 31-year-old explored his options but, while he was flattered by the club’s interest and saw the Premier League as a challenge, Griezmann’s priority was to make his move to Atleti permanent.
It happened in October, before his outstanding performances in Qatar helped France reach the World Cup final.
England’s demands haven’t stopped but Griezmann is happy at Atleti and the only time he could consider his future is if Simeone comes out.
United characterize the due diligence carried out on the player as a routine part of the recruitment process, likening it to being kept abreast of developments around Joao Felix and Cody Gakpo – who have joined Chelsea and Liverpool respectively – so that they have all the information to make a decision.
Their scrutiny over Griezmann is significant in highlighting the club’s dual policy of bringing in breed winners who can contribute now – like Raphael Varane and Casemiro – and change the club’s culture, as well as gifted youngsters with a high ceiling.
It also underlines the desire – sometimes discreet – to find a remedy for the lightness of the attacking options of Erik ten Hag. United have also worked on Victor Osimhen from Napoli, Benjamin Sesko from Red Bull Salzburg – who joins RB Leipzig this summer – and Mohammed Kudus from Ajax.
As explained by sky sports On Sunday, while there has been longstanding interest in Harry Kane given his early goalscoring record, the feeling is that he would rather stay at Tottenham and want to get the best new contract offer possible as he seeks guarantees on their long-term ambitions.
United’s priority this summer is to add a better striker, but their transfer business will be affected if they fail to secure Champions League football and are unable to reverse their trend of not doing well. to sell.
Ten Hag is doing his part on the training grounds and the club is confident of finding good solutions in the offseason with Murtough and head of recruiting Steve Brown, aided by data science director Dominic Jordan, trying to erode the mistakes made by the department in the past.
After spending last summer topped £200million, United had to opt for the budget option of loaning out Wout Weghorst this month to help alleviate their attacking woes.
UEFA’s new financial viability rules and money due in transfer fee installments – £307million according to the latest accounts – will condition how they operate in the market.
Who will move this winter? The January transfer window opens on Sunday January 1, 2023 and closes at 11 p.m. to Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumors in our dedicated Transfer Center Blog to Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up on the ins, outs and analysis at Sky Sports News.