It’s not too often that truly world class football players come onto the transfer market, let alone for a price less than what would generally be expected, but Duncan Castles believes that Manchester United could be in with a chance of getting a global superstar for a bargain price.
According to Castles, speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast and reported by the Daily Express, former target, Antoine Griezmann, could leave Barcelona for less than what United were willing to pay for his services two seasons ago.
It’s expected that the Catalan giants will have to ship out some big names in the summer, particularly if they wish to make a move for either Lautaro Martinez or Neymar. Spanish newspaper, Mundo Deportivo, even go as far as to suggest that Barca want both players.
Should that be the case, then clearly Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board will need to raise serious funds from sales, and Griezmann could still command a hefty fee, even if it isn’t close to what the Blaugranes paid for him just a year ago.
“Griezmann turned 29 last month so he’s at that point in his career where your valuation and your worth in the transfer market goes down inevitably,” Castles said. “You have to find another club who is prepared to take him.
“Everyone knows that Barcelona are in difficult financial situations. Everyone knows that the dressing room didn’t want Griezmann to come in the first place and want him out now and that Barcelona are looking for a replacement.
“So all of those things reduce his value and that’s why I think you will see a club like Manchester United, who tried to sign Griezmann in the past and value him as a player, value him as a commercial asset as well, that’s part of their thinking in trying to sign him two years ago, say: ‘Well let’s just have a look at this and see if there is a serious bargain to be had.
“‘How far can Barcelona be pushed? Who else is interested in taking the player? How much competition is there on the market?
“‘And maybe we can get someone we were prepared to spend the majority of our transfer budget on two years ago at a fraction of that cost and if that is the case, perhaps that’s a better route to go down than the one we’d originally been playing’.”
Though there is a long, long way to go before any deal would come to fruition, Castles’ hunch isn’t without merit.
The Frenchman has worked hard during his time at Camp Nou but has never truly fitted in there. Suggestions that he’s been played out of position haven’t helped, though a player of his ability should’ve been able to adjust his natural game to suit long before now.
If Man Utd. are willing to put their hands in their pockets, the signing of Griezmann could be the game changer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking for.