Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United: Juan Mata 'in part-exchange' to land Atletico Madrid star

Mourinho is seen as the next Manchester United manager in waiting and could choose to sell Mata for a second time

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The Independent Football

Manchester United will attempt to step up their pursuit of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann by offering midfielder Juan Mata in a part-exchange deal in the summer in a bid to beat Chelsea to his signature.

Griezmann has long been admired by a number of clubs across Europe since making a name for himself at Real Sociedad, before moving to Atletico in 2014 where he continued his rapid rise to prominence.

The 24-year-old has also been a transfer target for Chelsea over the past year, though the Blues failed to make an official offer for him last summer after it was made clear that the France international was not for sale.

According to The Sun though, it could be United who make the first move for Griezmann should Jose Mourinho take over as manager in the summer. The Portuguese is thought to have been behind Chelsea’s interest during his time at Stamford Bridge, and it’s suggested that he could look to sell Mata for a second time if he replaces Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford - which is looking more likely by the day after United's latest defeat in the Europa League to Danish side FC Midtjylland.

It’s believed that Griezmann has a £60m release clause in his current contract, although United’s recent lavish spending suggests they would have no problems tabling such an offer should they wish to come the end of the season.

However, one way they can offset that fee would be to offer a player such as Mata in a player-pus-cash deal, and Mourinho’s frosty relationship with the Spain international would certainly see Mata head the list of potential out-goings at United.

Mata was played out of position by Mourinho upon his return to Chelsea in 2013 and was sold just six months later when United paid their Premier League rivals £37.1m in January 2014 in what was former United manager David Moyes’ most expensive signing during his brief spell with the club.

Juan Mata may not figure in Jose Mourinho's plans for Manchester United

With United evidently short on attacking options, Griezmann would fit the bill to boost what has become a dreary side that is currently without its captain and lead striker Wayne Rooney through injury. Having sold Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck in the past 18 months, Van Gaal is desperately short on natural strikers, and the lack of depth can be seen in their results this season.