The transfer window may be closed but according to Matt Law from The Telegraph, Chelsea and Manchester United are already looking ahead to future windows with a move for Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann is a special player and it is now being recognised across the world. The fact that he is in the top 3 shortlist for the best player award alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo speaks volumes. Although it is too early to suggest that he is at their level, he does have the potential to one day hold that title with Cristiano (31) and Messi (29) now entering the latter years of their career. Griezmann is just 25 and since his move to Atletico Madrid he has made huge improvements. Previously at Real Sociedad, Griezmann was known for being a winger that could play through the middle. Now he has made the central striking spot his own, ideally alongside a more physically strong striker like Oliver Giroud for France and Fernando Torres for Atletico. He may thrive alongside a ‘bigger’ striker, but Griezmann, despite his small frame, does have a lot of the tools to be able to play as a lone striker. He’s good in the air, with a magnificent leap (he won 1.57 aerial duels per 90 last season), he’s good creatively, notching up 5 assists and 1.39 key passes per 90 last season. He’s also very quick, which stretches opposition defences and allows his teams midfield more freedom.
I think the next step for him will be to see if he can develop a deadly instinct and close control skills similar to Sergio Aguero. The Argentinean is of similar height, but built up a stockier build to help him handle big defenders, I feel Griezmann will have to tactically do the same if he is to play as a lone striker in the Premier League. Both Chelsea and Manchester United typically play with one striker up front – although the idea of Griezmann playing alongside Ibrahimovic next season would surely make fans drool. But in the long term Griezmann will have to adapt if he is to be considered the very best – I’m sure the Premier League would help him do that.
At 25 it’s not like Griezmann is just starting his career, but he is moving into his prime years and has only recently established himself among the top calibre of players. His efficiency in front of goal has helped him raise his status, managing a brilliant shot accuracy of 57% last season and a brilliant 0.65 goals scored per 90, scoring a massive 22 La Liga goals. If he can replicate that goalscoring form again this season then his stock will only rise further.
But who needs him more, Manchester United or Chelsea? Well currently both teams have a top class striker (Ibrahimovic and Costa), both also have young strikers coming through who need to play (Rashford and Batshuayi) but if Griezmann were to become available then you simply cannot say no. Antonio Conte has previously played with 2 strikers at clubs like Juventus, so Griezmann could be viewed as the ideal partner for Costa in attack.
Despite all the rumours, the Frenchman has previously said though, that he will only move should current manager Diego Simeone also leave, having built up a close relationship with him.