Diego Simeone insists Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann will not leave in January

by Leo Nieboer

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has confirmed that Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann will not leave the club this month.

The Frenchman came close to joining Man United last summer but made a last minute U-turn after Atletico’s appeal against a transfer ban was turned down.

But with the club’s transfer ban now lifted, the forward can seek a new club after a difficult first half of the campaign which led to his agent claiming his Atletico career was over.

However, Simeone has made it clear that he wants to use Griezmann alongside Diego Costa – who scored on his debut – during the second period of the season.

“Well, it depends on the match, but it’s true that we always thought about the Griezmann-Costa pairing for our attack and we hope they can do great together,” he said.

“The competitiveness inside the team is really strong, Gameiro is great, Fernando Torres keeps improving, Correa is also an alternative, Carrasco is improving game after game and Vitolo is really enthusiastic about playing here.

“We will have to manage all that offensive power and pick the best choices for the team.”

It was largely thought that Costa’s arrival would send Griezmann the other way but their complimentary styles – the former strong and lively in the box, the latter slippery and dangerous around the box – could prove fruitful during the business end of the season, and perhaps even give new life to Griezmann’s dwindling Atletico career.

Mourinho has identified Griezmann as an option as he looks for a creative addition to his squad over the summer but whether he opts for him over the likes of Mesut Ozil, Christian Pulisic or Gareth Bale will be largely determined by how he performs over the next few months.

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