Man Utd transfer stance on Antoine Griezmann amid Atletico Madrid to Barcelona links | Football | Sport

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Manchester United came close to luring Griezmann away from Atletico Madrid shortly after winning the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

The Red Devils were hopeful he and Romelu Lukaku would strike up an impressive partnership at Old Trafford, with their reliance on veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic clear for all to see at the time.

Griezmann ended up rejecting Manchester United, however, to stay at Atletico. The La Liga giants had been slapped with a transfer ban and, out of loyalty, he chose to stay.

Fast forward to now, however, and the World Cup winner has confirmed he will leave.

The player, who is wanted by Barcelona, said: “After speaking with [coach Diego Simeone], [CEO Miguel] Angel Gil Marin and with people in the club’s hierarchy, I wanted to speak with you, the fans.

“You have always shown me a lot of love and I wanted to be the first to tell you that I’ve taken the decision to leave to see other things and take on other challenges.

“It’s been a difficult route to take, but it’s what I feel I need.

“Thanks for everything during five fantastic years here, where I was able to win my first big trophies. There have been some incredible moments that I will always remember. You, the supporters, will always be in my heart.”

United fans have been imploring them to rival Barcelona for the signature of Griezmann this summer.

However, the Manchester Evening News say the Red Devils will not be signing the World Cup winner.

It is claimed they have long expected the France international to end up at Barcelona instead.

The 28-year-old’s release clause of £104million can be triggered now the transfer window is open.

But Barcelona, it seems, will end up signing Griezmann instead.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo, meanwhile, has expressed his disappointment at the forward’s eagerness to leave.

“More than annoyed, I am disappointed,” said Cerezo to Fox Sports.

“I thought that Antoine had a great future at Atletico, with big titles and big league wins.

“The problem is that everyone thinks in their own way. We respect his decision, I and Atletico fans.

“We wish him all the luck in the world. One goes and others will come. I don’t know where he will play, ask him. He can play where he likes.

“This is a surprise, it’s a disappointment.

“If I was his advisor I would have told him to stay here. It’s a free life and everyone can do what they think is right.”

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