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Manchester United: Griezmann latest; Juventus identify target; key player to miss five weeks

It says a lot about the current nature of football and the unnecessary dramatisation for the transfer window that ever since the 2016 window closed last Wednesday, Manchester United have already been linked with a big name transfer for the summer of 2017.

A whole year of negotiations and rumours would bring a whole new meaning to the popular term ‘transfer saga’, but for now, it appears that a move for Antoine Griezmann, already considered the prime target for 2017, may be a difficult one to push through.

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Jose Mourinho believed that a big bid, surpassing the one that United paid for Paul Pogba this summer, would be enough to convince Atletico Madrid to sell Griezmann to England, [providing United had Champions League football to offer.

However, French show Telefoot on TF1 have claimed that Griezmann will not leave Atletico Madrid as long as Diego Simeone is in charge at the Vicente Calderon, putting a stop to any immediate thoughts of a departure.

There can be no doubt that Griezmann is a world class operator, and seven goals for France in the European Championships only went to certify his place in the upper echelons of the game even more. Manchester United will be desperate to have the 25-year-old, but for now, it appears they must wait and look for other options for next summer.

In more transfer news, Juventus are reportedly interested in making a move for out of favour right-back Matteo Darmian in the January transfer window.

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Darmian started very well at Manchester United initially, but injuries and poor performances shunted him from the team, as his debut season in Manchester quickly turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Now, with Jose Mourinho in charge, Darmian is second choice right-back to Antonio Valencia, who is a winger, and looks like he will struggle to return to the starting eleven any time soon.

Whilst this suggests that a move to Juventus may be a good deal for Darmian, he still represents a good back up option for United at full-back. His early performances have shown the club that he is more than capable of competing as a Premier League right-back, but he just needs to knuckle down and he will eventually adapt to the division.

The Old Lady are reportedly also looking at Mattia De Sciglio, the AC Milan defender, and could opt to go for him, but don’t expect United to sell Darmian unless they can bring in another full back in January.

Any defensive issues for United at full back could pale into insignificance compared to centre back in January, as the Red Devils prepare to lose Eric Bailly for five weeks to the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Bailly, a £30 million signing from Villarreal this summer, and the star of Manchester United’s opening three victories, has qualified with the highly fancied Ivory Coast side. His team will be a bit high and dry over the winter period.

United have Chris Smalling, who has developed into a fine centre back but has no game time this season, to cover. Currently Bailly is playing alongside Daley Blind, who is one of the most intelligent defenders around, but his lack of pace and physicality are often exposed by big, physical strikers.

Bailly has been the perfect answer to United’s problems and they will miss him terribly. Whether they dip into the transfer market in January for a replacement is another matter entirely though.

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