Why Manchester United should not sign Antoine Griezmann

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 05: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates during the match between Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on March 5, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 05: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates during the match between Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on March 5, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Manchester United should pass on the Atletico star

With only two months of the season left, the transfer window will be open soon and teams will already be starting to plan where they can improve in their team, what players they can add to their squads to strength themselves and what players they will need to get rid of.

For Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the areas in which he needs to improve his squad are all rather blatantly obvious – the team needs more goalscorers. A lack of goals has been a major problem for United for a number of years, under Louis Van Gaal the team struggled to create chances due to a safety first possession style of football and with the team creating so little chances, obviously that leads to a lack of goals.

United tried resolving this issue by bringing in Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and the Swede has been nothing short of incredible this season as he’s scored a remarkable twenty-six goals in all competitions – he dramatically scored late on in the EFL Cup final against Southampton to ensure that Manchester United won the competition and ensure that Mourinho became the very first Manchester United manager in the clubs history to win a major trophy in his season but there is an over-reliance on Zlatan, as the second highest scorer in the team is Juan Mata on nine goals.

United were expected to challenge for the team this season and it is what the club expected to do as well. It’s why they sacked Louis Van Gaal despite winning the FA Cup and brought in Jose Mourinho, a man who has won at every club he has managed and why they brought Ibrahimovic in. United by all accounts should be challenging for the title this season, they haven’t lost in the league since that crushing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea back in October and they’ve only lost two games in all competitions since – losing to Hull 1-0 in the 2nd leg of the EFL Cup and losing to Chelsea again in the FA Cup on Monday night.

The issue with them right now is that they are not scoring enough goals, the team has only managed to score 39 goals in the Premiership this season which is far too low for a team that expects to win the league or even challenge for it. Early on in the team it looked like United were just unlucky drawing games to Burnley at Old Trafford and Stoke, largely down to the heroics of goalkeepers Lee Grant and Tom Heaton but with so many games go the same way, the excuse cannot always come down to just the opposing goalkeeper having a great game but an issue with the team being able to goal scores and this is becoming a big reason why despite not losing games, the team is drawing far too many games and being unable to move away from sixth position in the team.

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United create enough chances this season and Mourinho for the most part this season has set United up in a way that allows them to attack more than one would usually regard a Mourinho team to play but the goals aren’t coming.

When he is playing in the team, Mkhitaryan has done a good job of getting the goals for the team but they’ll need more and it already looks like that is what Jose Mourinho is planning on doing this season – introducing another goalscorer to the team. The big name that has been talked about as a potential signing in the summer is Atletico Madrid’s Antonie Griezmann. The French man is a phenomenal player for both club and country where his six goals for France in the European Championships in the summer helped them reach the finals where they came up short against France and also helped see him finish third in the Balon D’or as well. There would be no question that Griezmann would be a fantastic signing for Manchester United and would certainly help with the need to score more goals.

So why shouldn’t United sign him?

United broke the transfer record to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford from Juventus last summer after he had left on a free in 2012 as an eighteen year old. Pogba has had a mixed season, he’s been brilliant at times and he’s also been frustrating as well. Right now, Mourinho favours a 4-2-3-1 formation which exposes Pogba’s weaknesses as a player – he isn’t disciplined enough defensively to work in a two-man midfield where he works best in a three-man midfield, typically partnered with Ander Herrera next to him and Michael Carrick behind him where both Herrera and Carrick are able to do their defensive duties while allowing Pogba the freedom to roam the pitch and operate as a playmaker.

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Pogba simply cannot do what he does best in a two-man midfield, at Juventus he had Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira to suffice for his lack of defensive effort. Mourinho does favour the 4-2-3-1 formation but this just exposes Pogba and some of his better performances have come from when United lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.

The issue then becomes that Antoine Griezmann plays at Atletico Madrid in a two striker formation and plays for France behind the striker in a No.10 position and acts like the second striker from a deeper position. He doesn’t perform nearly as well playing as the single striker spearheading the team nor does he play as well on the wing. He can play these roles, but you’re not going to get the best out of Griezmann if you do and with a 100 million euro release clause, you’d want to play Griezmann in a role that gets the absolute best out of him.

It is an issue that France had in the European Championship last summer, Griezmann had a great tournament but Pogba struggled playing deeper and didn’t have the best tournament. Pogba played in the deeper role and it didn’t get the best out of his abilities. Unless Mourinho decides to change formation to something that can get the best out of Griezmann along with getting Pogba into a more advanced position and while a diamond formation is certainly something that can get the best out of both, it isn’t a formation that Mourinho likes to play as he wants wingers and he wants wingers that track back.

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If Manchester United do sign Griezmann, he will resolve the goalscoring problems for United. It’d be a massive surprise if he didn’t, he’s a world-class player and he would have no problems with the team offering chances to him. But that still leaves United exposed defensively, it leaves the team with a 90 million pound problem who will get continually exposed defensively and will not be able to offer to the team what he will be able to do what he does best. A winning team needs balance and while Griezmann will solve one issue for United, it’ll raise another issue for them.