Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has admitted he is fearful of Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann sealing a much-discussed move to Manchester United.
After months of speculation linking United with a move for Griezmann, the Old Trafford giants will show their hand in their pursuit of the Frenchman in the next couple of months, with Gerrard’s reaction to the rumours confirming he would be a statement signing for United manager Jose Mourinho.
While the striker has stated on several occasions that he is no rush to leave his current club, United continue to be linked with a big-money move to sign the 26-year-old this summer, with his €100m release clause ensuring Atletico are powerless to stop his transfer if that fee is paid.
With United seemingly keen to pay that extravagant asking price, Gerrard’s Liverpool allegiances ensured he had a firm view on where Griezmann should move if he is to leave Atletico at the end of this season.
“Get him as far away from Manchester as you can,” Gerrard told BT Sport, much to the amusement of his fellow pundit and former United defender Rio Ferdinand.
Gerrard went on to lavish praise on Griezmann, who has been in find form for Atletico once again this season.
“Will he sign for United, we don’t know,” added 2005 Champions League winner Gerrard.
“He is one of the best players at finding space and hurting teams, in between the lines, as we call it these days.”
Ferdinand offered a very different view of Griezmann’s links with United as he declared: “Old Trafford looks like the perfect destination for him!”
Griezmann was part of the Atletico side that secured a relatively comfortable passage to the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night, with their 1-1 draw against Leicester enough to wrap up a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Yet despite Atletico’s impressive record in Europe’s elite competition over the last few years, Griezmann’s future at the club remains under a cloud.
What is likely to be one of the big transfer stories of the years is only likely to gather in momentum over the next few weeks.