LONDON, May 31: Antoine Griezmann has informed Atlético Madrid that he wants to leave this summer although Manchester United will have to meet the France striker’s €100 million (£87 million) release clause, with the Spanish club determined not to sell for less.
Griezmann has delivered mixed messages about his future in recent months but he has resolved that his interests will be best served by leaving the Vicente Calderón and United are in pole position to sign him as manager Jose Mourinho attempts to bolster his forward line.
United have been actively working on a deal for Griezmann since the turn of the year and Mourinho would ideally like the player in place for when the club go to the United States on July 9 for the start of their pre-season tour.
Griezmann, 26, is with the France squad ahead of their friendly against Paraguay on Friday and is due to go on honeymoon with partner Erika Choperena in mid-June following his country’s matches against Sweden and England.
As United prepare to take one player from a Madrid club, they face a fight to prevent another leaving for the Spanish capital. David de Gea is a leading target for Real Madrid but United believe they are in a much stronger position to rebuff the Spanish champions’ advances than two years ago and are confident the £60 million-rated goalkeeper will not agitate for a transfer.
Real are preparing to make another move for De Gea after their last bid to sign the Spain No 1 collapsed amid acrimony on transfer deadline day in September 2015.
De Gea had only a year left on his contract at that stage, but having signed a new four-year deal with United following that doomed approach by Real, the Spaniard has two years left on that agreement with the option of another 12 months.
United officials praised De Gea’s professionalism throughout Real’s previous battle to sign him and the Manchester club expect that to be no different this summer, even though his preference would be to move to the Bernabéu.
Mourinho been looking at other goalkeeping options in the event De Gea does leave but Manchester City’s willingness to pay £34.7 million for the relatively unproven Benfica No 1, Ederson Moraes, may serve only to have increased De Gea’s already prohibitive valuation. -THE TELEGRAPH