Manchester United: Big name plotted for 2017; striker eyes management; Mkhitaryan injury latest
Jose Mourinho has made a massive impact at Manchester United in the transfer market, shelling out £150 million on four players in order to turn the Red Devils from the mediocre side they have become back into title contenders.
But there are no plans for the spending to stop there, and the Sunday Mirror are reporting that Mourinho is already plotting his big move for next summer, in the shape of France and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann, who was top scorer at the European Championships with a fantastic tally of seven goals, has turned into one of the superstars of world football since his move to the Spanish capital in 2014. Despite missing a penalty in the most recent Champions League final, he remains one of the most coveted stars in world football, and it is likely that United would have to surpass the world record fee they paid for Paul Pogba just last month in order to secure the signing of the Frenchman.
However, Griezmann is reportedly aware of the interest, and despite being under contract until 2021 at the Vicente Calderon, believes that Atletico, who have become somewhat renowned for replacing world class strikers, will sell at the right price.
With this in mind, the future is very exciting for United fans. Griezmann is one of the best attackers in the world, and the news that he may consider a move to Old Trafford if Champions League football were available is a tantalising prospect. The idea of him linking up in an attacking midfield three with Antony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a fairly terrifying one, and United would certainly be a much better team for it.
Where Griezmann would play, though, either as a central striker or behind the main forward depends on a number of factors. One of which is the development of Marcus Rashford, and second is where the career of current number nine Zlatan Ibrahimovic is heading.
Ibrahimovic joined United on a free transfer in the summer, but at 34, it was clear that it was not a deal for the long term. Just how short the move will be is unknown, but the Swede is clearly planning for the future at Old Trafford, and plans to start taking his coaching badges in the new year.
It is unclear whether Ibrahimovic wishes to coach at United when he finishes his playing career, or head back to Italy, but it is thought that the striker does not wish to become a manager straight away.
If the club can convince him to remain at Old Trafford as a forwards coach, it could prove to be a massive success. Ibrahimovic is one of the most instinctive and innately talented strikers in the world, but his consistency to perform at the highest level is as a result of excellent training and work ethic. If he can pass this on to the likes of Rashford and Martial in the future, United will be looking very strong indeed.
Finally, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an injury doubt for the Manchester derby after the Armenian FA said their man had suffered an injury to his lower thigh.
Mkhitaryan was removed early from his country’s friendly with the Czech Republic earlier in the week after a collision with Marek Suchy, and it appears the injury may be more serious than first thought, with his thigh problem ruling him out of Armenia’s game with Denmark.
Although he hasn’t started a game yet, the news that the midfielder may be missing the derby is a big blow to United fans, as he will provide incredible quality from the bench. It is not as bad as Aguero being out for City, but missing Mkhitaryan could prove to be a big factor in deciding the result.
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