Manchester United are beginning 2017 by targeting two of Atletico Madrid’s top talents in a £145m deal, reports suggest, as Jose Mourinho looks to assemble a squad capable of returning the club to the European summit.
Mourinho will look to make Antoine Griezmann his big summer signing, following on in the wake of Paul Pogba’s world-record move last summer, says The Times.
In addition to the Frenchman, United will also target his teammate, midfielder Saul Niguez, with Mourinho keen to find a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick.
The 22-year-old can play anywhere across the midfield and can also provide defensive cover, which Mourinho is after with only Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling available.
Griezmann will provide the goals Mourinho is after having averaged just over a goal ever other game for Atletico, with the United boss admitting it would be a disaster if leading goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up an injury.
The pair’s combined release clauses total £145m and United are aware that meeting their release clauses would be the only way Atletico would sell.
The club see the Frenchman as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, who they are privately keen to move off their books now he has lost his status as an automatic starter.
Mourinho must first trim down his bloated first-team squad however, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger all expected to leave the club this month in the transfer window.
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