Former Chelsea defender Franck Leboeuf believes that Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann was justified in rejecting Manchester United this summer.
It was reported soon after Man United’s Europa League success over Ajax that the Frenchman would join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford after telling the club he wanted to leave.
However, after Atletico’s transfer ban was upheld, which ruled they couldn’t register any new players until January, the 25-year-old pledged his allegiance to Diego Simeone instead.
And Leboeuf has noted that Griezmann was right to reject a club supposedly incapable of winning the Champions League next season.
“I don’t know, I guess we’ll see (if it was a mistake to reject United),” he said.
“It seemed to me Atletico Madrid is looking for it’s second breath and they struggled this season not being able to win La Liga but also the Champions League.
“They seemed to be less ambitious in a way comparing to the other years.
“Now Griezmann had the chance of going to Manchester United but is Manchester United the Manchester United that we used to see with a team being able to win the Champions League, when they just won the Europa League this season? I’m not sure, I think they are building a new generation at Manchester.
“Manchester is still a big club, a fantastic club, but they’re not in the position of winning the Champions League very soon.
“So I guess it was a wise decision for Griezmann to stay at Atletico Madrid.
“As I’ve said before, try to win with the club who made you a star, maybe trying to win the Champions League.”
The notion that a player ‘rejected’ another club is always a gross oversimplification. In fact, numerous factors lie behind why Griezmann made a U-turn – the first being, of course, that if he did leave Simeone would have been unable to replace him.
Leboeuf also fails to consider that Mourinho had a hand in the deal not progressing. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the picture, he needed an established No.9, as opposed to somebody who played primarily as a No.10 or second striker last season, and focused his attention on Alvaro Morata – set to arrive over the next week – instead.