Antoine Griezmann combining with supposed best friend Paul Pogba, as well as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, is a salivating prospect for Manchester United fans.
With Griezmann comes talent, ability, goals that make you sigh with satisfaction, even for Real Madrid fans, or perhaps Manchester City fans in future. Few in football have ever discredited Griezmann’s footballing attributes. This isn’t about that, rather it is about whether Manchester United have thought through the process of buying Griezmann.
Forget money, United have got it
Worries over money? United and their support can disregard that immediately. Griezmann may cost a lot, his release clause at Atletico Madrid being £86m, but they’ve spent more on Pogba and have recently broken Real Madrid’s 11-year stronghold of top spot in the respected Deloitte Football Money League, listing the world’s richest clubs.
Other things Man Utd could have spent the Pogba money on:
5 Lear Jets or …
52 Ferrari F60s or …
A Picasso and a Monet or …
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) August 9, 2016
Griezmann could send Rooney on his way
The arrival of Griezmann casts the futures of a number of Manchester United players in doubt. Captain Wayne Rooney has been linked with China in recent months. That move seems increasingly sensible for club and player should Griezmann sign. Rooney has fallen down the pecking order dramatically in the last four months, though some substitute appearances have proved vital.
Rooney’s name is only first on the teammate for a mid-week EFL Cup tie, no longer for the vital game against a rival. His status at United has fluctuated dramatically in recent seasons, even the most adamant of Rooney supporters have admitted he is in downfall. Many would be happy to bid him farewell on a relative high following breaking Bobby Charlton’s record and the player himself will know the arrival of Griezmann may put him as fourth or fifth choice for that sought-after striker role.
Martial and Rashford’s futures made uncertain
Both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, two of the Premier League’s most exciting prospects last season, could have trouble with a potential Griezmann arrival. No doubt like United’s supporters they are excited by the prospect of the 25-year-old at their club.
As with Zlatan and Rooney, playing with Griezmann would be a fantastic experience for them both. However, these are two strikers that, with the correct work ethic and trust from the manager, have the chance to emulate the elite strikers.
Rumours of a return to France for Martial have clouded recent proceedings at Old Trafford. Griezmann is versatile like his fellow Frenchman. Playing as a lone or second striker as well as on the right and left-wing, Martial is unlikely to see his countrymen as anything but a rival for his positions.
“Rashford is Red”, as the song goes, and so the 19-year-old is less likely to feel a need to leave if Griezmann arrives. He’ll thrive from the experience of playing with Griezmann, but it is obvious that his development could be stunted if his playing time is cut substantially. He is only 19, younger than Martial, but this is the best time of his career to learn and improve. Griezmann is a long-term purchase, only 25-years-old after all, and could harm Rashford’s early career in Red.
Even Zlatan could suffer
Even evergreen Ibrahimović’s role and future at the club will be affected. It appears he will stay for a second season, whatever the situation with Griezmann, but with a third being hinted at, the combination of two superb strikers in Zlatan and Griezmann ruling the roost for two consecutive seasons will do further damage to Rashford and Martial’s hopes of becoming first choice anytime soon.
20 league games, eight goals and four assists. United fans have rightly struggled to contain themselves at the prospect of Griezmann. This is why. At United that’d put him ahead of every player in both sections, except Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 15 league goals. Even then, Griezmann leads on minutes per goal, almost 100 less than Zlatan.
Where Griezmann fits is another matter
Where he would fit in at United, though, is difficult to say. We were left wanting more as football fans as Griezmann and Pogba failed to produce brilliance at the Euros for France, even though that has been attributed to manager Didier Deschamps. The consequences of Mourinho signing Griezmann could leave United without some of their best talent.
“When I read articles about a hypothetical transfer to Manchester United I think it would be the ideal commercial scenario,”
“He would play at Beckham’s former club, which is his idol, with the same legendary number on his back.”
Griezmann’s adviser Sebastien Bellencontre told So Foot, a French magazine.
A certain level of caution is needed when spending in excess of £80m, even if it’s for an ultimately sensational player in Antoine Griezmann and even if it’s for “richest-club-in-the-world” Manchester United. When there is no obvious gap for the player and his arrival may drive extraordinary talent out of the club, caution is a must.
Of course, while rumours continue to swirl on this matter, there has yet to be anything truly convincing that Antoine Griezmann will join Manchester United.
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