Belfast Telegraph

Griezmann’s move to United hinges on Champions League place

By Miguel Delaney

Antoine Griezmann has given the thumbs up to Manchester United’s eye-watering personal terms, but the France international is still open to interest from his Atletico Madrid side’s cross-town rivals Real Madrid, with the Old Trafford club’s Champions League qualification in the balance.

United are increasingly confident of signing the 25-year-old forward next summer, with an outline salary deal and bonuses already being worked on.

Indeed, the club’s partners have already been briefed over brand campaigns potentially involving Griezmann in the same way they were last spring with then-Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba ahead of his return to the Red Devils. Griezmann’s major concern is whether United finish in the top four and can secure him Champions League football next season.

Only a couple of clubs in Europe could rival the 20-time English champions on financial terms, with Real Madrid chief among them, but the Bernabeu club are not, to Griezmann's dismay, currently expected to enter the race.

While the Frenchman is understood to be willing to make the highly controversial switch to retain a lifestyle he enjoys and have the chance to win a European trophy, Madrid president Florentino Perez has an unwritten agreement with the Atletico hierarchy not to agitate for - nor sign - their players, a stance that Griezmann is fully aware of.

Manchester United denied that any transfer had been agreed, understandably, but senior figures at the club know that they need only activate the player's release clause at the end of the season to have the right to discuss personal terms that, through intermediaries, have already been agreed. That is in United's hands.

Whether they can finish in the top four feels increasingly out of their hands.

Belfast Telegraph

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