Antoine Griezmann would have joined Manchester United this summer had Atletico's transfer ban been overturned

The French international had agreed to move to Old Trafford but felt he couldn't leave Diego Simeone's side in the lurch

Tuesday 29 August 2017 14:02
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Griezmann would be a Man United player already had Atleti's transfer ban been overturned
Griezmann would be a Man United player already had Atleti's transfer ban been overturned

Antoine Griezmann was set to join Manchester United this summer until Atletico Madrid's transfer ban was upheld, his former agent and mentor Eric Olhats has confirmed.

The France international was revealed by The Independent to be United's top target way back in the spring and eventually personal terms were agreed on a deal that only needed the Old Trafford club to trigger Griezmann's €100m release clause.

Atletico believed that their transfer ban, imposed upon them by Fifa for the illegal signing of underage players, would be overturned and that they would be able to replace Griezmann with a gaggle of top players - including Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon.

But when the ban was upheld it ripped up their summer plans and, unable to sign any players heading into their new stadium, Griezmann was suddenly under pressure to stay, something he was happy to do.

"Griezmann didn't feel able to leave Atletico," confirmed Eric Olhats, who has since parted ways with his former client.

"He's been integral to them and has shown his commitment to the club at a time when they couldn't sign players. Without the Fifa sanctions he would have gone."

In the confused wake of Griezmann's decision to stay, The Independent exclusively revealed that the forward personally rang Manchester United to tell them he would no longer be moving to Old Trafford.

A deal to take Griezmann to United next summer is not out of the question with the Frenchman's release clause still pitched at €100m, but there is likely to be greater competition to sign one of Europe's best attacking players.

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