Manchester United believe they ‘already have the basis of an agreement in place’ to sign Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann next summer, a source close to the Old Trafford club has told Yahoo Sport.
France hit-man Griezmann has been strongly linked with a move to United in recent months, with this latest development confirming that initial talks to sign the 25-year-old are at a more advanced stage than has previously been reported.
United made initial contact over Griezmann’s availability late last year, with our source suggesting Atletico Madrid were open to selling the striker so long as no move was made by United to sign the forward in the January transfer window.
United may have to go close to breaking the world record transfer fee of £89m they paid to sign Pogba from Juventus last summer to bring Griezmann to Old Trafford, with Mourinho hinting he has already laid out his transfer plans for next summer.
“If you ask me ‘do I know what I want for the next transfer window?’ yes I know,” Mourinho told reporters on Monday. “Is it possible to get? I’ll try, always, to be realistic. In our case, we are more focused on the summer period.”
The news that United have held talks over the fine details of Griezmann’s potential move next summer will fuel the belief that they are already planning for life with the Frenchman, who is expected to be handed their iconic No.7 shirt vacated by Memphis Depay.
Griezmann has confirmed that he has regularly to his French team-mate Paul Pogba about life at Old Trafford under manager Jose Mourinho, as he confirmed in an interview with Sky Germany last year.
“I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure,” said Griezmann.
“You hear a lot of things about Manchester United and Paris St-Germain (trying to sign him), but right now I don’t see me moving to a new club right now. But it would be awesome to play alongside Paul one day.”
Pogba spoke last week about his friendship with Griezmann in an interview with Telefoot, with the bond the duo share evident in these comments.
“He’s my brother, we’re always together,” stated Pogba. “When you’re feeling good away from the pitch it’s easier for you on the pitch, and that’s what’s happening with the France team.”
“I’m very proud of him. I know what he’s been through. When he arrived at Atletico Madrid the first year, he wasn’t playing all the time, he was on the bench.
“He talked to me, saying he was frustrated, that it was hard as he wasn’t playing. After that he kept working hard, and now he’s one of the three nominees for the best player in the world award. I’m very happy for him, especially to see a French player doing so well.”
United’s confidence in landing Griezmann may explain why Mourinho made it clear that he was not interested in making any big-money moves in last month’s transfer window, as he is already preparing to add expensive pieces to his Old Trafford jigsaw ahead of next season.