Former Manchester United striker Terry Gibson believes that Antoine Griezmann could leave Atletico Madrid over the summer if the Spanish side miss out on next season’s Champions League.
It was confirmed last week that a deal between the two clubs had been agreed ahead of a summer move for the Frenchman, but Man United were quick to label the report as false.
Atletico currently occupy fourth spot in La Liga – seven points behind leaders Real Madrid and just one point ahead of fifth placed Real Sociedad.
And Gibson, speaking earlier this week, claimed that Griezmann could be tempted into a move to Old Trafford if Atletico fail to reach the Champions League this season.
“We have to look deeper now because there is a lot more talk in England than there is in Spain,” he told the La Liga Weekly podcast,” he said.
“As things stand, Atletico Madrid cannot sign a replacement so that surely must influence the decision. Although, if his buy-out clause is triggered there is nothing they can do about it.
“We have to look at where they finish this season as well, whether they finish outside of the Champions League spots – I don’t think they will be.
“It’s a big ask for Manchester United to try and qualify for the Champions League, I know that didn’t deter Paul Pogba but I don’t think it’s cut and dried.
“We haven’t heard much in Spain, where they tend to get their transfer speculation from the English papers in any case.
“It’s going to be a talking point from now until the end of the season because the window is closed and people cannot cope without transfer news.”
Just picture the ideal scenario here: Atletico somehow fail to reach the Champions League, Diego Simeone leaves, and United end up sealing a spot in the top four following a late surge and a good old-fashioned slip-up from both Liverpool and Arsenal.
From Griezmann’s perspective, you’d imagine that the prospect of playing alongside Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in a team moving in a positive direction under Jose Mourinho, on the biggest continental stage would significantly supersede playing in the Europa League for a side regressing in the wake of Simeone’s departure.