Antoine Griezmann personally called Manchester United to inform them he was staying at Atletico Madrid

Exclusive: The Frenchman is understood to have spoken to Jose Mourinho to explain why he is staying put, but United still want to sign a star name this summer

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The Independent Football

Antoine Griezmann rang Manchester United on Thursday to explain his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid.

Atletico successfully persuaded Griezmann to stay at the club for another season, playing on his loyalty to both the team and especially manager Diego Simeone to ensure that his long-anticipated move to Manchester United this summer would ultimately collapse.

It is understood that the French star rang United and spoke with manager Jose Mourinho, while it was actually Atletico's manager who proved key to the decision to stay, with Simeone having made a personal intervention to convince Griezmann over the previous 24 hours.

Sources close to both clubs say Griezmann had been leaning towards joining United over the last few weeks, to the extent that even some of his commercial partners like Beats were planning advertisements around the transfer. It is understood that the Old Trafford hierarchy were willing to pay his £84m buy-out clause, a situation that would have left Atletico helpless to prevent him leaving, having naturally decided not to consider any sale due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to uphold a Fifa ban on the club registering players this summer.

The Spanish club thereby made a concerted effort to persuade the 26-year-old to stay for at least one more year, although it is also understood that he does not want to leave Simeone - who he admires greatly - in the lurch. Indeed, it was the Argentinean that helped persuade Griezmann not to leave Atleti high and dry, though some of El Cholo's coaching team were still under the impression Griezmann would depart until they saw his tweet on Thursday night.

Griezmann’s departure would have left Atletico’s forward line significantly depleted without the opportunity to register anyone else until January, although the club remain confident they can do a deal for Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette to arrive mid-season.

Mourinho’s interest in Griezmann remains and it is believed by all parties that United could look to revive in the deal in the future, but the club still want to sign a star name this summer.

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