Antoine Griezmann has reportedly told Manchester United that he now has his heart set on a move to Barcelona.
The Atletico Madrid striker, who has been in relatively poor form this season, was heavily linked with a summer move to Old Trafford and seemed set to join up with friend Paul Pogba; in the week of the Europa League Final, flirtations were at an all-time high with the French striker taking to the national press to fuel the fire of speculation.
A transfer ban then hit Atletico Madrid and with United unwilling to force the issue and attempt to negotiate to pay the player’s release fee (a complication they had found in the Ander Herrera transfer), the player issued a statement saying he wouldn’t leave the Spanish club.
Regardless of his poor performances, the player’s stock remains high, and Barcelona, who are in desperate need of some star power due to their aging front line and the loss of Neymar, have emerged as contenders to sign him. And according to Mundo Deportivo, although United chief executive Ed Woodward has maintained an open line of communication, he was recently told that a deal had all but been agreed with Barcelona.
Whether or not the news comes as a ‘blow’ to Jose Mourinho depends on your observation of how his own team has evolved this year. The form of Anthony Martial has already reportedly cooled the manager’s interest in Ivan Perisic of Inter Milan, and the two are very different players. With the rumoured interest in Mesut Ozil, it may well have been the case that Mourinho had moved on from wanting Griezmann anyway, though the news will disappoint fans who wanted the Frenchman to wear Eric Cantona’s ‘number 7’ shirt.