Sunday’s security scare at Old Trafford has extended Manchester United’s domestic campaign by another couple of days at least and in doing so has allowed the red side of Manchester know exactly what they need to do in order to achieve Champions League qualification.
Following Swansea City’s heroics against Manchester City, United now know that a win will be enough for Louis van Gaal’s men. Simple right? Well, no actually.
United currently sit three points adrift of their city rivals, and while a win will put them equal on points, their vastly inferior goal difference means that United must beat Bournemouth by at least 19 goals. It is a pretty safe bet, then, to assume that United will not be involved in the Champions League next season. It will be the second time in three years that this has happened.
With a real chance to assure themselves qualification last weekend, United slipped up against West Ham, thus meaning they were reliant upon Swansea to do them a favour and beat Man City. Their 1-1 draw on Sunday has now led to an unfathomable result being needed by United on Tuesday.
The ongoing uncertainty over United’s involvement over the last couple of months in next season’s Champions League has now likely cost the Old Trafford side the signature of yet another big target.
Still reeling from Bayern Munich’s shock signing of Renato Sanches, it now appears that another rumoured big target for United, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, has shunned both Manchester United and Chelsea and has instead stated he wishes to remain in Madrid and sign a contract extension with Los Rojiblancos.
With Chelsea long since out of the running for the Champions League and with United stuttering, high flying Atletico have far more to offer the French goalscorer. Set to contest the Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid on May 28th and having been in contention for a La Liga title right up to the penultimate weekend, it is clear that Griezmann’s current employers are in a far better position to offer their striker the chance of winning silverware.
The 25-year-old has been in stunning form this season, scoring 32 times in all competitions and it is this form that has seen top teams in Europe expressing an interest in the Frenchman.
Griezmann, however, has displayed his devotion to his current side and has now, according to the Daily Mail, opened talks for an extension to stay at the Vincente Calderon, saying:
“If Zidane calls me [and asks me to join Real] I will say that I’m at Atletico.
“Zidane is a great person, but I’m here. I’m even talking to renew my contract. I hope [the talks] will succeed.”
It is clear from this statement that United and Chelsea don’t, and perhaps never did, stand a chance of signing the prolific goalscorer.
If the likes of Real Madrid doesn’t interest Griezmann, what hope do the Premier League’s wounded greats have?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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