Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has called Jose Mourinho to explain his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid in view of the pending transfer ban on the Spanish giants. The forward had a brilliant season behind him, scoring 35 goals in all competitions for club and country and also picked up 12 assists in the process.
The Independent reveals that manager Diego Simeone convinced him to stay in Atletico for at least another season and the Frenchman agreed, owing to his respect for the manager, under whom he has won the La Liga title. The 26-year-old has a £86m ($111m) release clause in his contract and the Spanish giants would have been helpless if United had matched it, but the forward's decision to stay has come as a massive boost for Atletico.
Griezmann was reportedly keen on moving to Manchester this summer, so much so that his commercial partners were already preparing events surrounding his transfer. However, his decision puts United in a tough position who are desperate to bring in a star signing this summer with Zlatan Ibrahimovic unlikely to have his contract renewed following a knee injury which will rule him out for the most of 2017.
Griezmann had previously indicated that he was open to a move to Old Trafford but stressed that he loved Atletico and his future would be decided after discussion with the club's president.
"I'm fine at my club. My agents are taking with Atletico so we'll see what happens. My future will be decided on this summer," Griezmann said during an interview with Cero. "But like I've said, I'm happy here at Atleti. I have spoken with my coach,with Koke and Diego Godin. It is in the president's hands so we'll see how everything goes."
The Red Devils are also in the race to sign Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, with Arsenal and Real Madrid also interested in the Frenchman. The Gunners had a bid rejected for the player by Monaco but it is believed that Arsene Wenger, who is a huge fan of the 18-year-old, will make another attempt to sign the free-scoring striker.