Manchester United have been boosted in their attempts to one day bring long-term target Antoine Griezmann to the club after learning that the Atletico Madrid striker's release clause has been halved following the end of the summer transfer window. Upon signing a new contract in June, the fee required to sign the France international stood at €200m [£182.1m] as Atletico attempted to ward off interest from rival clubs.
The 26-year-old pledged his short-term future to the La Liga side in the summer after the club's transfer ban prohibited them from acquiring any new players until January 2018 – meaning that any departures could not be replaced. Griezmann U-turned on his intention to leave the Spanish capital, claiming it would have been "dirty" to leave Diego Simeone's side in their current strife.
Despite Romelu Lukaku arriving for a club record fee from Everton in the summer, United are expected to reignite their interest in Griezmann in the new year and according to the Manchester Evening News a move could go through as early as January. And ahead of that pursuit, manager Jose Mourinho will be buoyed by the news that Greizmann's price tag has been reduced to just £91.5m, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.
Griezmann's release clause had temporarily doubled but the stipulation expired on 31 August when the Premier League transfer window closed. Atletico's domestic rivals Barcelona are also monitoring the situation, though United's long-term interest sees them as the front-runners.
Eric Olhats, Griezmann's former agent, admitted last week that he would have left Spain last summer had Atletico's appeal against their transfer ban not been upheld by Fifa. Reports had suggested that Griezmann had agreed terms on a move to United, only for the punishment preventing the deal going through.
Having previously talked up the prospect of moving to Old Trafford, Griezmann has made no secret of his desire to join United but was coy when asked whether he could indeed move to the Premier League next summer.
"To be honest, I don't know," he told FourFourTwo. "I'm going to be playing for Atletico next season and after that we'll see. All I am thinking about now is Atletico Madrid. I think it's absurd to talk about something that is more than a year away."