On the move: Atletico's Antoine Griezmann
After a torrid summer for Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, suffering two final defeats in the Champions League and at Euro 2016 with France, the 25-year-old is preparing for a return to action with the Spanish side.
However, in an interview with the Guardian, he has put a host of Premier League clubs on alert by claiming that he would consider a move to England in the future. When asked, he replied:
Yes, why not? If I am out of contract with Atlético I would ask myself that question.
Whilst it is worth noting that in the very same interview he made it clear that his short term future is at the Vicente Calderon, and five years left to run on his current contract in the capital of Spain, a move this summer seems hugely unlikely:
I really have no desire to go to another club. I want to win titles with Atlético.
That won’t deter many though given his 32 goal return last season. Usually deployed as a second striker but also able to play out wide on either flank or as the main man up front, Griezmann is flexible and adaptable, yet always prolific. Slim and light on the ball, it remains to be seen how he would adapt to the physicality of the Premier League, but he will have no problem in bringing his skill, pace and clinical finishing to England.
Here are three possible destinations for the Frenchman should he opt for a move to England:
United have been linked with a move for Griezmann this summer, a man who they previously came up against in a Champions League tie against Real Sociedad. Since then Griezmann has come on leaps and bounds and is no longer the fragile but quick winger that Nemanja Vidic and co. managed to keep quiet in a 0-0 draw in Spain and a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Griezmann would face a wealth of competition at United, from the likes of his compatriot Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and principally Wayne Rooney. In this regard, the Frenchman would most likely be a replacement for the ageing captain. So far this season Jose Mourinho has deployed Rooney behind Ibrahimovic as a shadow striker, a role in which Rooney has failed to shine. This is the role in which Griezmann excels, and with the little and large combination of him and Ibrahimovic, with Zlatan bringing strength and aerial ability and Griezmann bringing pace and skill, it could be a terrifying prospect.
The club have shown a clear willingness to spend, which would certainly be necessary to bring Griezmann to Old Trafford, and he could fit the profile of the kind of marquee signings that the club has made this summer should it be so successful that they choose to replicate it next summer too.
Arsene Wenger is never afraid to look towards his home country for talent, and Griezmann was clearly one of France’s best performers this summer in the European Championships. The Gunners are said to be one of the Premier League clubs to be tracking Griezmann, but it is unclear how serious their interest is.
For years fans have been crying out about the need for a prolific forward to score the goals to bring the title to the Emirates Stadium for the first time, and Griezmann fits the profile well. An international teammate of Olivier Giroud, the two could link up as they did in France this summer to devastating effect throughout the tournament.
However, there are two key concerns over Arsenal’s interest. One would be that the fee required to sign Griezmann is likely to smash the club record fee paid for Mesut Ozil, which may not be to the pleasing of Wenger and his board, and the second is the similarity in style of Griezmann to Alexis Sanchez. The two are very similar in style and with both in the same eleven it could either prove to be hugely effective, or they could end up cancelling each other out and competing for the same positions. With Alexis still at the club, it seems unlikely that the Gooners could justify spending big money on singing the Frenchman.
Whilst Griezmann was brought to the Vicente Calderon as a replacement for Diego Costa at Atleico Madrid as headed to Chelsea, he could ironically be the perfect partner for the physical Spaniard. Chelsea, too, are one of the sides monitoring Griezmann according to reports, with Antonio Conte having had little luck in his pursuit of a forward this summer so far.
The Frenchman could form a formidable partnership with the 27-year-old if Conte perseveres with Costa and opts to play a duo up front as he has previously with Italy and Juventus. Griezmann fits the mould well as a quick player who will be happy to do the pressing work and legwork that Costa is reluctant to do, making runs to allow Costa to exploit them himself.
As we have seen so many times before, Chelsea will not have much financial difficulty in meeting Atletico’s demands, but there could be tension between the two clubs given the saga over Costa’s future this summer, with the Blues reportedly having threatened to report Atletico to FIFA over poaching. Whether or not that could impede a deal is not yet clear, but if Conte decides to go for Griezmann, Roman Abramovich often gets what he wants.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Charlie Cunningham.