FOOTBALL

Griezmann to Manchester United back on after Barcelona cool interest in striker

Antoine Greizmann’s potential transfer to Barcelona could be off as star man Lionel Messi has blocked the Catalan club’s chiefs from carrying on their negotiations with the Atletico Madrid man, according to Spanish media outlet Don Balon.

After the arrival of Phillipe Coutinho from Liverpool, club legend Messi has attempted to stop the Barcelona hierarchy from making another huge money signing, with Don Balon reporting Juventus forward and fellow countryman Paulo Dybala is Messi’s preference of signing in the summer transfer window.

According to Spanish outlet Mi Otra Liga, the Catalan club are prepared to cut their losses on winger Ousmane Dembele who was signed in the previous transfer window as a direct replacement for Neymar, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, after just two games into the season Dembele picked up a thigh injury which kept him out until early January, and has recently picked up another knock which could rule him out of the Champions League clash with Chelsea next month.

It was reported by Mi Otra Liga that Barcelona were now focusing all of their efforts on signing Griezmann in the summer, with Dembele potentially being offloaded.

Club officials from Barcelona had met with Griezmann and his family last month to discuss a possible transfer, with the Frenchman’s sister dealing with all of his professional affairs as the forward does not have an agent.

Reports he was going to sign for the club this month started to gather pace last week, which the club moved quickly to deny with a statement.

“FC Barcelona strongly denies the information that has appeared over the course of the last few hours in different media regarding Atletico Madrid player, Antoine Griezmann, and an alleged deal with our club,” the statement read.

“FC Barcelona expresses its objections in the face of these events and reiterates its full respect for the institution of Atletico Madrid.”

This has left the door open for Manchester United to attempt to sign the French striker in the summer window, with the Old Trafford outfit unlikely to sign another big name forward in this month’s window due to Alexis Sanchez’s imminent transfer from Arsenal.

Spanish media outlet Sport reported that Griezmann would prefer a move to United, with the former Real Sociedad man estimated to have a an £88m release clause in his contract with Atletico.

United had been front-runners to sign Griezmann in the summer, but due to Atletico’s transfer ban he stayed on at the Madrid club for another season.

However, it is unknown whether Jose Mourinho will still be in the chase for Griezmann after the arrival of Sanchez, with United having to most likely match any other big name signing’s wages with that of Sanchez, which are reported to be £500,000 a week.

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