Manchester United have been urged to break the bank to sign Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid striker will guarantee goals, according to former France international Mikael Silvestre. The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, with the club poised to activate his reported £86m (€101m) release clause.

The ex-Real Sociedad hitman has netted 26 times this season for the Champions League semi-finalists, 16 of which have come in La Liga. Only Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo having scored more times in the Spanish top flight. The player's agent has confirmed that Jose Mourinho's side lead the race to sign the forward, but a deal is yet to be completed.

Mourinho has continually attacked the lack of cutting-edge possessed by his strikers this season, a situation that may be accentuated by the exit of captain Wayne Rooney in the summer and the possible retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League last week. Given the club's problems in front of goal, Silvestre – who spent nine years at United – says Griezmann is the only answer.

"You need a lot of energy now in the modern game. Antoine has that. He has a lot of talent. He has got the right attitude. He would be perfect for United," he told the Manchester Evening News. "The fans would love him. His stamina, workrate, his finishing. It would be a great signing for Manchester United.

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann has netted 25 goals in all competitions this season. Reuters

"In my time we had Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Teddy Sheringham – proven goalscorers. Ruud van Nistelrooy – proven goalscorer. Louis Saha – proven. Wayne Rooney – proven. That's what you need. It is a priority.

"Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are not regular 25-goals-a-season players yet. They have some time to go to be that kind of a player who will produce week in, week out. You need someone like Antoine. Manchester United need him. Someone you can rely on to produce consistently. At 26 he is the right age and has a proven goals background."