Antoine Griezmann has denied reports that he phoned Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho to inform him of his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid this summer, but did not rule out the possibility of a move to Old Trafford in the future.
United were heavily linked with a swoop for the £86 million-rated Frenchman earlier in the transfer window, though no move materialised.
Griezmann instead chose to remain at Atleti, signing a new contract until 2022, with a transfer ban meaning that the Spanish side cannot strengthen their squad until January.
The 26-year-old has, thus, explained that he could not walk out on his current employers when they need him most.
“No, no, no. No, that’s totally made up. False,” he told FourFourTwo after being questioned on whether he spoke personally to Mourinho. “It was my decision. I communicated it to the club. That’s it.
“I have stayed mainly because of the transfer ban. Atletico needed me now more than ever and I felt I had to stay. It would be dirty to leave. I wouldn’t have been myself, or the person that I feel I am today, if I had left this club in that way.
“I spoke to Diego Simeone about the situation, our options and how he wanted me to stay to work out what we could do. Then we finalised everything with [chief executive] Miguel Angel Gil. I have too much respect for this club and the people in it to leave now because, just like Real Sociedad, they’ve given me everything.”
Reports suggest that Griezmann’s buyout clause remains at €100m, and that has led to speculation that United could once again attempt to secure his signature next summer.
Griezmann, though, has refused to be drawn on such rumours.
“To be honest, I don’t know. I’m going to be playing for Atletico next season and after that we’ll see. All I am thinking about now is Atletico Madrid. I think it’s absurd to talk about something that is more than a year away.”