Just a few days after he seemed likely to leave, Atletico Madrid have announced that Antoine Griezmann has signed a new contract.
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Griezmann, 26, has extended his stay at Atleti until 2022 as Diego Simeone’s men enter a new era at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on the outskirts of Madrid for the 2017-18 season.
With Manchester United seemingly walking away from any deal for Griezmann — due to their own needs and the fact that Atletico’s FIFA transfer ban was upheld — the French international will remain at Atletico Madrid for at least the 2016-17 season.
Here is his statement as he extended his deal for another season at Atleti.
“The first thing that I want to do is apologize to the people who misunderstood my statements,” Griezmann said. “Maybe I expressed myself badly or someone wanted to make news where there weren’t any, but since I came, I have given my all for my club, my teammates and my coaching staff, and I’m very happy to live one more season with all of you.”
The big news in this contract extension is that, according to widespread reports, the release clause of $100 million has not been taken out, so Griezmann could walk away from Atletico next summer if someone bids that amount.
It is being seen as a noble act for Griezmann to stand by Atletico when they have a transfer ban (the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, upheld FIFA’s transfer ban for Atleti after they were found guilty of breaching rules regarding signing players under the age of 18) restricting their transfer activity until January 2018 when they can sign new players again.
Atletico would not be able to sign a replacement for Griezmann if he left this summer, but now they won’t have to worry about that for at least another season.
As for United’s dreams of signing Griezmann, are they over? With Jose Mourinho cooling on a move for Griezmann this summer, it could appear that the Red Devils are happy with their attacking options and don’t see Griezmann as someone that can usurp Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford in attack.
It could be a decision United come to regret as Griezmann would undoubtedly strengthen their attack and even though the Red Devils appear to be switching their attention to a target forward in the shape of Alvaro Morata and Andrea Belotti, it would not be surprising to see them move for Griezmann next summer.