Manchester United are hoping Antoine Griezmann’s friendship with Paul Pogba will prove decisive in the race to bring the Atletico Madrid star to the Premier League next summer.
The France forward, who was heavily linked with United, Arsenal and Chelsea this summer, recently ditched his agent amid further claims he is ready to turn his back on La Liga and move to the Premier League.
And with mentor and Atletico manager Diego Simeone also likely to move to England sooner than expected after reducing his contract at the club, Griezmann’s move to the Premier League already looks like it could become the transfer story of next summer.
But United hope to gain the upper hand in the race to sign Griezmann, with the player’s friendship with Pogba expected to tip the race in their favour.
#Pogback !!!!!!! ??
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) August 19, 2016
Pogba reunited with his France team-mate on holiday in Miami in July and Griezmann delighted United’s fans hours before Pogba’s second debut against Southampton last month by tweeting the ‘Pogback’ hashtag the club had adopted to greet their record signing. The post was retweeted 19,000 times and liked by 28,000 users.
Of the pair’s friendship, Griezmann told Onda Cero: “Pogba and I were brought closer by the French press. Criticism after the Romania game made us friends.
“Pogba with the ball is a genius.”
Griezmann was the subject of an approach from both Arsenal and PSG during the summer, and speaking of the latter’s interest, the player said: “Yes, but as it was during the Euros and I told my agent I did not want to listen.
“I told him: ‘I do not want you talking to me of Atletico or Paris – I want you to leave me in Clairefontaine [France’s training camp].’ But I know they were very interested.
“They are a big club that wants to become even bigger. I hope for them that they will get there.”
“From now I’m going to operate without an agent,” he added. “But I will always have the advice of my father and also my mentor, Eric Olhats.”
Olhats is the Real Sociedad scout who discovered Griezmann at a youth tournament in Montpellier and it’s also reported he believes a move to Old Trafford would best suit the player.