Respected football journalist Graham Hunter believes Chelsea have the power to sign Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann if they wish to do so, reports talkSPORT.
Atleti are thought to want to keep hold of what is one of their star players, but may be powerless to stop him leaving. Being over €500m in debt and trying to pay for a new stadium means that if the Blues offer enough for the forward then they will be forced to accept.
Hunter said: “Antoine Griezmann is exceptional and would set the Premier League alight. He’s still young and last year he improved greatly under Diego Simeone. This is a really talent, quick and robust young footballer. The price will have to be extraordinary because neither Simone, or Atletico, want to let him go.
“Chelsea have the power to buy him though. If they go all in they have the power to take him from a club which is more than €500m in debt and trying to pay for a new stadium. Griezmann is not pushing to get out, but the fact remains the economic power at Chelsea is such that, if they want him, they can prise him away.”
He added: “Atletico have already signed signed two big strikers [Luciano Vietto and Jackson Martinez] maybe they are preparing for the inevitable?”
The 24-year-old has a £43.5m release clause, according to the Daily Star, which should be within the Stamford Bridge outfit’s means if they go all out to sign the France international. Griezmann could be worth it after scoring 25 goals in 52 games last season, more than any Chelsea player. Diego Costa came close by netting 21 times in 36 matches, but was held back by hamstring problems from playing more than he did.
With the departure of Didier Drogba from the London side as well as Loic Remy being strongly linked with a move to West Ham by the Daily Express, it looks like Jose Mourinho will need some new forwards before the next campaign. The Metro believes that AS Monaco star and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao could be that man, but two strikers still isn’t very many for a Premier League title-chasing side.
Griezmann’s ability to play on the wing could also be enticing to the Portuguese. While Eden Hazard has nailed down his position on the left, neither Willian or Juan Cuadrado has been able to do so on the right. Having the former Real Sociedad man there could mean that opposing teams have to deal with genuine threats from both sides of the pitch.