Manchester United are hoping Paul Pogba’s personal relationship with transfer target Antoine Griezmann can help convince the French forward to join the club.
Jose Mourinho has drafted up a list of top-level targets that will help the Red Devils compete for the elite trophies once again, and the 25-year-old is one of the pieces of the puzzle.
While the club can afford both Atletico Madrid’s asking price and Griezmann’s contractual demands, they hope the friendship between the striker and current United player Pogba can help push through a deal.
Last summer, United’s efforts to sign the forward fell short, with the Frenchman keen to focus on the upcoming Euro 2016 instead of negotiating a transfer. This year, they hope to have more luck and, according to the Daily Record, Pogba is said to be “talking to the boy almost every day to push him to go.”
The pair’s friendship grew while on international duty, and have been national team-mates since 2014. Speaking to French TV, Pogba said: “I always have good times when I’m with Grizou.
“He’s my brother, we’re always together. When you’re feeling good away from the pitch it’s easier for you on the pitch, and that’s what’s happening with the France team. I’m very proud of him. I know what he’s been through. When he arrived at Atletico Madrid the first year, he wasn’t playing all the time, he was on the bench.
“He talked to me, saying he was frustrated, that it was hard as he wasn’t playing. After that he kept working hard, and now he’s one of the three nominees for The Best award. I’m very happy for him, especially to see a French player doing so well.”
If United were to strike a deal with Atletico for the forward, it will almost certainly eclipse the world-record £89 fee they spent on bringing Pogba to Old Trafford in the summer. Griezmann stock continues to rise after an impressive Euro 2016, and he has scored 63 league and Champions League goals for his club in 121 appearances since he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014.
He finished third in FIFA’s poll to select a world player of the year, while he was also named Euro 2016 Player of the Tournament.
Although he extended his Atleti contract until 2021, including a €100million release clause, the striker revealed in November last year that the Premier League would be next destination.
“I am in Madrid, we have a good team, I want to win titles,’ Griezmann told Telefoot.
“PSG is an interesting project but I don’t want to move to Ligue 1 now.
“I prefer to stay in La Liga or the Premier League. If I had to leave La Liga today, it will be for England.”