Could Real Madrid really sign Antoine Griezmann?

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Antoine Griezmann


Antoine Griezmann is a man in demand. The Atletico striker is one of the most sought-after players in world football at the moment - and he can count Real Madrid among his many admirers.

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The France forward has a knack of scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu - where Madrid and Atleti meet in the Champions League on Tuesday - and he hit the late equaliser to deny Los Blancos all three points in the teams' recent fixture in La Liga last month.

Real had dominated virtually throughout and the goal came as a shock to the home team. However, what followed was perhaps even more surprising. Because fresh from salvaging a point for Atleti in the derby, Griezmann refused to rule out a move to his club's fierce rivals.

Asked in the mixed zone if he would like to join Madrid, he said: "I can't say no or yes. You never know what can happen in football, but a jump from Atletico to Madrid is not feasible. Very few players have done it, so it's dead."

Griezmann season stats graphic

At the moment, it is. But it is not the first time Griezmann has hinted he would be interested in a move to Los Blancos. In December, he said: "It's true that I want to win titles. [But] I couldn't go to Real Madrid because of the rivalry. And there is a non-aggression pact between the two clubs."

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That gentleman's agreement stopped Sergio Aguero from joining Madrid from Atletico in 2011, but it looks set to be broken this summer as Real prepare to pay the release clause of left-back Theo Hernandez, who is currently on loan at Alaves.

If that happens, it could pave the way for more moves between the two capital clubs and Madrid are one of only a few teams with sufficient funds to be able to pay the €100 million needed to sign Griezmann. And their interest in the player is real.

"There is an existing clause of €100m which is unavoidable," the player's advisor Eric Olhats said this week. "We're thinking right now about the most suitable offer. Real Madrid and other clubs are part of this thinking process."

Antoine Griezmann Real Madrid Atletico Madrid La Liga
Antoine Griezmann Real Madrid Atletico Madrid La Liga
Getty Images

And he added: "There is [also] Manchester United, they told us about their project. They were the first and the most solid in their enquiry."

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United have made Griezmann their main transfer target this summer, but the player is unlikely to consider a move to Old Trafford without Champions League football on offer and is keen to win the major prizes.

It is worth remembering that, even though Diego Simeone has made Atletico a force in Spain and in Europe over the past few seasons, Griezmann has won only one trophy - the Spanish Supercopa - since moving to the Vicente Calderon from Real Sociedad in 2014.

"Griezmann and Cristiano [Ronaldo] are two world stars, but they are different," Madrid defender Dani Carvajal said on Monday in the pre-match press conference. "Griezmann is a great player who was close to winning the titles that Cristiano ended up winning."

Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo

At Madrid, however, the Frenchman would have a greater chance of claiming more silverware, although a move this summer seems unlikely as the player has previously said he would stay at Atletico as long as Simeone is in charge. The Argentine is set to stay at Atletico until 2018 when his contract expires, but Goal understands that he could decide to leave a year early were his team to win the Champions League next month.

The France forward is only 26, in any case, so time is on his side and he will also be wary of upsetting Atleti's supporters by moving directly across the derby divide to rivals Real.

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"I am sure Atletico fans wouldn’t be happy at all [if Griezmann moved to Real]," Michael Owen told Goal this week. "He is their idol and he would be moving to the enemy but it is interesting one to see how it pans out. Benzema is doing a decent job at Madrid and Griezmann is sought after but I am not sure that big teams will do these deals in the transfer market now.

"I am not sure whether teams like Atletico are going to entertain selling their best players. Real Madrid may want to sign someone like him or Eden Hazard but it is not easy now."

That may be true, but the nature of a release clause means that the player can leave if he so chooses and another club stumps up the cash. At the moment, Griezmann still seems happy at Atletico and the summer looks like being too soon for a possible move to Real, but for a player who has admitted he wants more trophies and also a shot at the Ballon d'Or, it is clearly something he is considering for the future.