With Manchester United having endured a rather grim last few months – despite a run of four wins out of five in the Premier League – the attention is already beginning to turn toward potential signings that the Red Devils could make in January in order to strengthen Erik ten Hag‘s hand, particularly amid the speculation surrounding the impending investment of Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
A new influx of funds could allow the Old Trafford outfit to try and arrest their current slump, with further reinforcements seemingly required across the park if the club are to become a credible force again, despite having already splashed out over £400m on Ten Hag’s watch.
What the incoming Ratcliffe and co will be keen to avoid, however, is the repeat of the mistakes that have plagued United in the transfer market in recent times, with pursuing a move for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, for instance, seemingly not the wisest choice – despite the Frenchman’s outstanding form of late.
Man Utd transfer targets – Antoine Griezmann
According to reports in Spain earlier this week, representatives from United have travelled to Spain in order to try and tempt the World Cup winner into making the move to England, with Ten Hag seeking to bolster his attacking options as Marcus Rashford remains the only forward to have scored in the league this season.
As per the piece, the interested party are believed to be willing to triple the 32-year-old’s wages in the hope of turning his head, with the former Barcelona man having only returned to the Spanish capital back in 2021, after a two-year stint at Camp Nou.
During his first spell under Diego Simeone in Madrid, Griezmann was unsurprisingly a reported target for those at United, with reports in 2017, in particular, appearing to indicate that a move for the playmaking sensation was in the works.
How Antoine Griezmann would fit in at Man Utd
On the face of it, the signing of such a “phenomenon” – as previously hailed by ex-United stars, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera – would be a wise move in order to increase the quality available to Ten Hag at the top end of the pitch, with Griezmann having shone of late operating off a central striker, in a number ten or attacking midfield berth.
In what has been a stunning start to 2023/24 on an individual basis, the £210k-per-week machine has already scored 12 goals in just 16 games in all competitions, while registering one assist, with that haul of 13 goal contributions beyond what Bruno Fernandes has achieved at the Theatre of Dreams this season, the Portuguese magician leading the way with just four goals and three assists – the most of any of his teammates.
In the Champions League, for instance, the Atleti talisman has four goals in just four outings thus far and averages a remarkable 2.5 key passes per game to indicate his creative prowess, while Fernandes also averages 2.5 in that regard, yet has scored just once.
That showcases the undoubted benefit of plucking Griezmann from under Simeone’s nose, yet haven’t United been down this road before – signing an ageing, yet proven talent from LaLiga?
How Antoine Griezmann compares to Casemiro
On current evidence, it looks as if Ten Hag and co are set to rue their £70m capture of Casemiro from Real Madrid last summer, with the stricken Brazilian – who is likely to be out until Christmas – having endured a miserable second season at the club, notably being “torn to shreds” earlier in the campaign against Wolverhampton Wanderers, as per club legend, Gary Neville.
The 31-year-old had been central to all that was good about the club last term – being described as the “cement” in the side by his manager – yet this time around he appears more of a liability, with the £350k-per-week brute notably being dribbled past 1.9 times per game, as per Sofascore.
As Neville even suggested last year, splashing the cash on a player entering his thirties was “not a smart or shrewd” move – something Ratcliffe is said to agree with – hence why snapping up another veteran talent like Griezmann could prove to be a short-term fix, but a long-term problem.