Seven reasons why Antoine Griezmann will definitely join Manchester United
It's going to happen.
Well, it's looking increasingly likely that it will happen.
The reports linking Antoine Griezmann with a transfer to Manchester United from Atletico Madrid won't go away and are only likely to increase in volume over the coming months.
United fans have seen their team linked with big-money signings in the past, only for the deal to fail to materialise. (It seemed as though the club spent 2010 to 2013 chasing Wesley Sneijder).
However, there are several reasons why United fans should be optimistic about the prospect of Griezmann arriving at the club in the summer.
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1) Manchester United need a new striker.
It's an obvious one, but Jose Mourinho will surely be in the market for a new forward in the summer window.
China or the United States beckons for Wayne Rooney. If Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still at the club, he'll be a few months shy of his 36th birthday and Marcus Rashford is still developing.
Griezmann, a world class player, will be 26 in March and entering the peak years of his career.
2) United have money to spend and are desperate to spend it.
Manchester United are, once again the richest football club in the world, and isn't that all that matters, United fans?
Of course not, but it does mean the club have cash to spend. They're also willing to part with it. After years of relatively frugal spending under Alex Ferguson, the club now appear to be Galactico mode.
You get the sense that United wanted break the world record transfer fee for Paul Pogba last summer.
According to football journalist Andy Mitten, who covers United extensively, a club official gave a presentation at the Web Summit in Lisbon last November, detailing the social media success of the Pogba signing.
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Richard Arnold, United's managing director, spoke about how Pogba's signing had 615,000 interactions on Twitter on the day it was confirmed.
This blew Barcelona's signing of Luis Suarez, which generated 219,000 interactions in 2014, out of the water. Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne's transfer to Manchester City to Wolfsburg generated just 56,000 social interactions.
This all sounds nonsensical, but this type of stuff matters to a commercial giant like Manchester United. There's no doubt Griezmann's signing would make a splash.
3) There'll be room on the wage bill.
Wayne Rooney is surely in his final months at Old Trafford, right?
4) Jose Mourinho will love Griezmann.
There's always a worry that Mourinho will suck the life out of a flair player. However, Griezmann is already a well-rounded player who would fit directly into the manager's plans.
He's a wonderful finisher, capable of setting-up chances for his teammates and scoring different types of goals. The French forward can play in all four forward positions and doesn't slack on defensive work, which will appeal to Mourinho.
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Here's Griezmann's defensive statistics for the current season compared to United forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Armenian, after a rocky start, has become a key player for Mourinho, and is capable of doing the dirty side of the game.
Griezmann already has to work and press hard in Diego Simeone's team, and would do be more than capable of doing the same at Old Trafford next season.
5) Atletico Madrid may be forced to sell their best players.
The Spanish club are planning on moving to a new stadium for the beginning of next season, but the transition hasn't been smooth.
According to Spanish football journalist Dermot Corrigan, the move away from the Vicente Calderon, Atletico's home since 1966, to the Estadio La Peineta only came about due to investment from the Chinese Wanda Group and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
Corrigan writes: "a €160 million loan to Slim's bank Inbursa must be paid back quickly or the Mexican could gain control of the club's shares."
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 9, 2016
The executives at the club would undoubtedly prefer to avoid such a scenario.
Griezmann's transfer to United could cost €100m, and that would secure more than two-thirds of the amount owed to Slim, one of the world's richest men.
6) Who else can afford Griezmann?
Manchester United beat Real Madrid to the signing of Pogba last summer after it became clear that the Spanish giants weren't prepared to compete financially with United for the player.
Even if they outbid Mourinho's team for Griezmann, Atletico are unlikely the sanction of their best player to their bitter rivals.
This is how close Antoine Griezmann came to signing for Liverpool https://t.co/kLrsuB9FW6
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Barcelona are more concerned with tying down their big stars on new contracts, and may even be forced to sell players to do so. Paris Saint-Germain have the money, but their forward line is currently stacked with players. The same applies to Manchester City.
United proved with the Pogba deal that they can outbid any of the major clubs in Europe.
7) Diego Simeone faces an uncertain future at Atletico.
You might argue that contracts, and contract extensions, don't mean a lot in modern football. But it's extremely rare to see player or a coach reduce their contract.
That's exactly what Simeone did last September. The Atletico coach brokered a two-year reduction of his contract with the club. His contract now expires in 2018, at which point he will have been with the club for seven years.
Simeone will always be remembered as a genuine club legend at Atletico. He was captain in 1996, when they won the league and cup double, took them the Champions League final twice as manager and won the league title in 2014.
Simeone's son Giovanni, who plays for Genoa in Serie A, said late last year that his father would one day coach Inter Milan, who were bought by Chinese investors last summer.
Simeone Sr. didn't play down the rumours linking him with the club he joined from Atletico as a player in 1997.
"He's my son, so obviously I talk to him. I think that's normal. Him, my daughter, my wife, my father," Simeone said.
"They all know perfectly well that one day I'll coach Inter. It isn't news, or anything new."
Simeone also said he wouldn't stand in Griezmann's way if an offer arrives.
"I don't tie anybody down. I simply work in order to continue getting better for the good of the club," the 46-year-old said this week.
"He [Griezmann] is in an extraordinary moment, he is working well, he has got back on the scoresheet. He is currently in great form and it's normal that the top clubs in the world want him.
"I'm not surprised that those that can afford him are seeking him."
There's also the fact that Pogba and Griezmann are close friends. While the number seven shirt is vacant at Old Trafford.
It may drag on for months. Actually, it will definitely drag on for months, but the signs all point to Griezmann playing for United next season.