Manchester United’s hopes of signing Antoine Griezmann could ‘depend entirely’ on whether they qualify for the Champions League next season.
The Red Devils are said to be interested in the Atletico Madrid man should he become available in the summer, with his £85million release clause not enough to deter Jose Mourinho.
But, while Atleti would be unable to stop the move if United trigger the Frenchman’s buy-out clause, Terry Gibson, Sky Sports’ co-commentator for Spanish football, believes the deal won’t just hinge on the Manchester club paying the high transfer fee.
Mourinho’s men currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League table despite going 15 games unbeaten, two points behind Arsenal in fourth spot. On top of this, Atleti currently find themselves in a transfer ban, unable to bring in a replacement for Griezmann.
“We have to look deeper now because there is a lot more talk in England than there is in Spain,” he told the La Liga weekly podcast.
“As things stand, Atletico Madrid cannot sign a replacement so that surely must influence the decision. Although, if his buy-out clause is triggered there is nothing they can do about it.
“We have to look at where they finish this season as well, whether they finish outside of the Champions League spots – I don’t think they will be.
“It’s a big ask for Manchester United to try and qualify for the Champions League, I know that didn’t deter Paul Pogba but I don’t think it’s cut and dried.
“We haven’t heard much in Spain, where they tend to get their transfer speculation from the English papers in any case.
“It’s going to be a talking point from now until the end of the season because the window is closed and people cannot cope without transfer news.”
Griezmann’s long-term future at Atleti is in doubt after a poor first half to the La Liga season for the Madrid side.
The striker refused to celebrate Fernando Torres scoring his missed penalty rebound during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Leganes, but Gibson believes the Striker’s petulance was down to frustration rather than unhappiness.
“I saw two players moan when their teams scored a goal this weekend, and Griezmann was one of them,” Gibson added.
“He was obviously annoyed he didn’t score the penalty and thought he would snap up the rebound, but Torres got ahead of him and score it.
“There was a shrug of the shoulders, his arms were out stretched and a hissy fit from Griezmann.
“We have criticised Cristiano Ronaldo in the past for something similar so it’s Griezmann’s turn.”