Towards the end of the season, the Red Devils were lining up a staggering, potentially record-breaking, bid for Antoine Griezmann. However, Jose Mourinho’s plans were brought to an abrupt halt when the Frenchman signed a new contract with Simeone’s side.
‘I have stayed mainly because of the transfer ban. Atletico needed me now more than ever and I felt I had to stay. It would be dirty to leave. I wouldn’t have been myself, or the person that I feel I am today, if I had left this club in that way’, the ‘little prince’ told FourFourTwo.
‘I spoke to Diego Simeone about the situation, our options and how he wanted me to stay to work out what we could do. Then we finalised everything with [chief executive] Miguel Angel Gil. I have too much respect for this club and the people in it to leave now because, just like Real Sociedad, they’ve given me everything’, he said.
It looks like Antoine Griezmann will remain in Madrid for the time being, but he could make the switch to Old Trafford next season, once Atletico’s transfer embargo is lifted. He refused to answer when asked if he would remain at Atletico after next season: ‘To be honest, I don’t know. I’m going to be playing for Atletico next season and after that we’ll see. All I am thinking about now is Atletico Madrid. I think it’s absurd to talk about something that is more than a year away’, he refused to be drawn in on the matter.
The fact remains that Griezmann was Manchester United’s No1 transfer target for this summer and, having failed to sign him this time around, they will jump at the chance of doing so in 12 months.