Arsenal make approach for Griezmann

The Gunners have begun exploring the availability of the £25 million-rated Real Sociedad forward as they whittle down their list of summer transfer targets
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal have made an initial move for Real Sociedad forward Antoine Griezmann, Goal understands.

Gunners' representatives have been in contact with Griezmann's camp after making the 23-year-old one of their top summer targets.

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Arsenal have extensively scouted the Frenchman, who can play in any of the three forward positions and has a burgeoning reputation in La Liga.

Griezmann’s stock has risen with 16 league goals in 31 games this season, and 19 in 45 in all competitions.

His pace, dribbling and technique have also caught the eye of Europe’s top clubs, who are aware that his contract expires in 2016 and Sociedad face a fight to hold on to their £25 million-rated asset this summer.

Arsenal know they face competition from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and several continental heavyweights to land the attacker.

The north Londoners are whittling down their priority transfer target list, finalising scouting reports and holding meetings with agents despite the uncertainty over the future of manager Arsene Wenger, who has yet to sign the two-year contract extension he agreed last October.

Griezmann is a star graduate of Sociedad’s youth system after joining the Basque club from his native France as a 14-year-old.

He is having his finest season since breaking into the first team aged 18, with his performances in a free role from a starting point on the left flank attracting rave notices across Europe.

Griezmann did not win his first international cap for France until last month, with his promotion to the senior team delayed following a disciplinary breach in November 2012.

The Sociedad star was one of five young French players suspended by the national federation from all France selections for a full year in the wake of an Under-21s European Championship play-off in which they celebrated a first-leg victory by making a three-hour drive to Paris just days before the second leg.