Chelsea are set to battle Manchester United for the signature of Atletico Madrid and French international superstar Antoine Griezmann.
Since making his move to Atletico Madrid from Real Sociedad in 2014 for a price estimated to be £24 million, the 25-year-old has become the focal point of the Rojiblancos attack. He has managed to fill in the gap left by Diego Costa in superb fashion and has since gone on to become one of the most feared forwards in all of Europe. He played a starring role in the Euros in the summer, scoring 6 goals in the process and finishing as the tournament’s top scorer.
A few days ago, it was reported that Manchester United had set their sights on Griezmann for the next transfer window, after Jose Mourinho identified him as a long term replacement for Wayne Rooney. The English captain wishes to extend his contract with the Red Devils, even if he hasn’t been the force he once was. The 30-year-old, since the start of the 2014/15 season, has scored 30 goals in 78 appearances, often being deployed in a number 10 role by Louis Van Gaal. It was reported three days ago that Griezmann would consider moving away from the Vicente Calderon should current manager Diego Simeone depart. Simeone’s bond with his players is a special one and it may be one of the reasons he shunned the advances of Manchester United, PSG and Chelsea and extended his contract with Atletico Madrid in June, prolonging his stay till 2021.
Now according to the Telegraph, Chelsea are set to rival Manchester United for his signature in the summer. The Blues have been linked with a move for Griezmann in the past few transfer windows after his stellar performances for Atletico caught their attention. Chelsea’s current first choice striker Diego Costa has been constantly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after his first season. Towards the end of this summer’s transfer window, the 27-year-old admitted to wanting to move away, but the move couldn’t go through due to various reasons. He has since stated that he is happy to stay at Chelsea. Despite having a superb first season where he notched up 21 goals in 37 appearances in double-winning campaign, rumours surfaced of his discontentment with life in England. Chelsea’s disastrous fall last season wouldn’t have helped make things any easier.
The Blues were reported to be chasing Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata in the summer, even after managing to buy Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi. But moves for the former didn’t go through and Chelsea ultimately retained Costa for the time being. Should Chelsea wish to rival Manchester United for Griezmann;s signature, Antonio Conte would have the edge over Jose Mourinho given that they could use Costa to sweeten the deal for Atletico. Even though Atletico did buy Kevin Gameiro in the summer to ease the burden on Griezmann, Costa was Simeone’s first choice given their close bond and the success they shared in Atletico’s historic La Liga winning season in 2014. It is reported that Griezmann’s buyout clause is currently at a colossal £84 million, but Chelsea could initiate a swap deal or a player+cash deal for the French international striker, which would be a win-win situation for both parties.