After a flurry of compelling reports emerged last night, it now seems even more likely that Manchester United will sign Antoine Griezmann this summer.
His reported release clause of £86 million pounds will have to be met if the Reds are to prise Atleti’s star man away from the Vincente Calderon. Significant as that fee does sound, United could quickly cover it quickly if Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward continue their shrewd transfer dealings.
Here’s five players, two of which have already left the club, whose combined fees could make the club whole.
Morgan Schneiderlin-£25 Million
For a player that hasn’t showed any signs of consistent form in the best part of 18 months, £25 million was a great deal for United. Deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho, the Frenchman was snapped up by his old boss Ronald Koeman early in the January transfer window.
That’s already almost a third of Griezmann’s expected cost in the bank.
Memphis Depay-£16 Million (Potentially Rising to £21 Million)
Just like the man he inherited his number seven shirt from, Memphis was an unmitigated disappointment at Old Trafford. He turned it on against the FC Midtjylland’s of this world but could never quite live up to extraordinary hype that came with his arrival.
The English giants not only recouped much of their initial charge for the Dutchman but also managed to attach a buy-back clause to the deal.
Matteo Darmian-£10 Million
Hapless defensively and vexingly ineffective going forward, it’s quite surprising that the Italian has managed to survive this long under the Special One and, worse still, has gotten far more opportunities than the more dynamic Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Right-back is not the Dutchman’s best position but he’s an able deputy to Antonio Valencia and United will surely jettison Darmian in the summer.
Marouane Fellaini – £6 Million
Speaking of players who absurdly remain on United’s books.
Marouane Fellaini is enjoying his best season at Manchester United and he’s still gotten booed by his own fans. That’s how far below the level expected of the side he truly is. And he always will be. If you asked the Old Trafford faithful, they would overwhelmingly prefer the maladroit Belgian be shown the door sooner rather than later but the decision lies firmly with Jose and he seems to have an inexplicable infatuation with Fellaini and he’ll likely stay put.
Wayne Rooney-£30 Million
Sir Alex Ferguson recognised Wayne Rooney’s decline even before his retirement and had reportedly set up a deal for the Liverpudlian to leave the Theatre of Dreams that summer. David Moyes, in a move indicative of his ill-fated reign, managed to botch it.
If Mourinho can bring about the exit of his captain, it could define his tenure.
China is likely the only destination for the club’s leading goalscorer and he would easily command that price from one of the CSL’s big hitters.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena