Two heavyweight clubs are rumored to be set to battle for the signature of Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann in the summer, and they are the English Premier League’s Manchester United and La Liga’s FC Barcelona.
Griezmann, who will turn 27 in March, is considered as one of the best goalscorers and playmakers in the world right now. He is in his fourth season with Atletico and has scored 90 goals in 177 appearances in all competitions for the capital city squad.
Griezmann’s form has long attracted high-profile clubs like United and Barca, but Los Colchoneros were able to keep him to their side through the years. Atletico had actually given the France international a new contract in June of last year that would extend his stay in Madrid until 2022, per ESPN.
United almost signed Griezmann last summer, but the transaction was stopped because of a transfer ban placed on Diego Simeone’s club. Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils are reportedly still interested in getting Griezmann at the end of the season, but the team is said to be looking for other options at the moment, according to Yahoo! Sports.
United is currently sitting 15 points behind cross-city rivals Manchester City in the Premier League table with still 16 matchdays left in the season. While it would take a lot for them to overtake City for the domestic title this year, adding Griezmann to the mix in the summer could likely bolster United’s chances next season.
A move to Manchester would also give Griezmann the opportunity to play alongside his French teammate Paul Pogba, who currently captains the Red Devils.
Meanwhile, SB Nation‘s Barca Blaugranes reported that Barcelona is planning to offer Griezmann a “huge salary” to sway him to their side.
The blog said that Barca is willing to pay Griezmann’s $119 million release clause and is also prepared to give him a five-year contract worth between what team superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are earning. Messi earns $53 million a year while Suarez nets almost $18 million as the top two players in Barca’s payroll, according to the Sport Bible.
A recent ESPN report claimed that Griezmann is favoring to stay in Spain than move to England, which means a transfer to Barcelona is more likely. He and his wife, Erika Choperena, reportedly have “reservations about swapping Madrid for Manchester” that could potentially seal the deal for Barca.