Should Manchester United move for Antoine Griezmann?
Background Image: Daniel, CC BY-SA 2.0
Antoine Griezmann is no stranger to flirting with other clubs. Two years ago, he was expected to leave Atletico Madrid. The Frenchman confessed there was a 6 in 10 chance he was going to Manchester United. Atleti beat the odds.
Last year, the rumours did the rounds again with Barcelona the anticipated destination. Again, the Rojiblancos survived, keeping their talisman through a transfer ban. Rather than trying to contain the situation, Griezmann exploited it, releasing an apparent documentary detailing his thought process, love and commitment to the club.
It turned out to be a mockumentary. Griezmann's love was fleeting. At season's end, he announced his departure. Rumour had it he was filming a sequel to the previous decision, outlining why he chose to leave the Metropolitano. The project was scrapped at Atletico's request.
Whatever your opinion on Griezmann's antics, his quality can't be denied. The 28-year-old scored at least 25 goals each campaign from 2015-18. This season's total was 21 across all competitions, with ten assists thrown in.
Although Barcelona first threw their hat in the ring following Griezmann's announcement, nothing has been set in stone. Other clubs also pursue his services. Manchester United rank among them. If you forget the glaring issues in the Red Devils' defence, you'll stumble across the fact they struggled to score late in the season.
Following the 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain on 6 March, United managed to score twice in just two more games, wins over Watford and West Ham. The other ten matches consisted of eight losses and two draws in which they either scored just the once or were held off the scoreboard entirely. Arsenal, Barcelona twice, Everton, Manchester City and Cardiff all kept clean sheets against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.
Injuries played a part but were not the overriding factor.
Inter Milan and Juventus are said to be keen on signing Romelu Lukaku. To be honest, that would probably benefit all parties. Lukaku previously expressed interest in playing in Italy. The Belgian scored a dozen goals for United on the season but never quite fit into Solskjaer's system. Far too often the 25-year-old would drift out to the wing to bang in crosses. At 6' 3", he should be waiting on them.
On the other hand, Griezmann fits into United's attack seamlessly. The Frenchman already has chemistry with Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. United have been crying out for a striker since Robin Van Persie left. Fan favourite Marcus Rashford is far too inconsistent, missing more opportunities than he makes.
Griezmann's versatility aligns with Solskjaer's vision. When first quizzed about who would play centre-forward, Solskjaer expressed a preference for players who could interchange, flourishing anywhere in attack. Griezmann can play on the wing, lead the line or as a number ten.
Any United move likely depends on offloading Lukaku. If the opportunity arises, United chief executive Ed Woodward must move quickly. Other clubs aren't going to wait for them. Neither will Griezmann.