Manchester United could be given an unexpected boost in the transfer saga involving Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann.

It has been quite a week for Griezmann, who courted controversy this week after dressing up in blackface in ‘homage’ to the Harlem Globetrotters. The race storm intensified after the striker initially appeared to defend his actions before later apologising and deleting the post.

While this was unfolding, his club Atletico were in the process of reporting Barcelona to FIFA after becoming furious with the Catalan’s attempts to sign the forward.

While Madrid have accepted the player will leave, they are very unhappy with what they deem to be illegal attempts to unsettle Griezmann and feel that Barcelona should be subjected to the same punishment as they faced – a transfer ban.

Should this be the case, then United, the team who flirted with him over the summer, emerge as favourites to sign him. Griezmann and his brother are lifelong United fans and it is believed that his preference to join Barcelona and stay in Spain was a recent product of those suspected improper conversations.

Even if Barcelona escape punishment Atletico will be far more keen to entertain negotiations with United.

United’s own willingness to pay top dollar for a player whose form has dipped and whose public profile has taken a significant hit with his headline-hitting behaviour this week may not be quite as strong as it was six months ago.