Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban upheld; Griezmann deal off?
This decision will have a huge ripple effect across European soccer.
[ MORE: Griezmann asks to leave ]
On Thursday Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the La Liga outfit are now banned from signing any new players until January 2018.
FIFA initially dished out the bans for breaking rules over signing players under the age of 18 from foreign countries, to Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in January 2016 but both clubs appealed and therefore could sign players last summer until the appeal to FIFA was thrown out in July 2016 with Real and Atleti banned from signing new players across two transfer windows.
However, Real had their ban halved on appeal to CAS so they could sign players this summer, but Atletico’s transfer ban for two transfer windows (January 2017 and now summer 2017) has been upheld.
This means that selling Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United could be in serious doubt (more on that below), while Diego Costa heading back to Atleti this summer is now off.
The latter deal seemed increasingly likely to happen as part of the domino effect which would see Griezmann join United and Costa replace him as he returns to work for Diego Simeone. Costa is facing another season at Chelsea after publicly announcing he will not be heading to the Chinese Super League and will only be playing for either Chelsea and Atletico Madrid next season. Well, now it is a certainty he will be playing for Chelsea.
Yet both deals, plus Atletico’s reported move for Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, now seem unlikely due to Atleti not being able to strengthen their squad this summer.
Of course, if Manchester United meet Griezmann’s release clause of $110 million then he is free to leave Atletico and that is now the only option because there is no way that the La Liga outfit would contemplate selling the French international without being able to sign a replacement until January 2018 at the earliest. Right?
Multiple reports on Thursday suggested that United have cooled their interest in Griezmann and have made signing a No.9 a priority over another attacking playmaker in Griezmann.
Make no mistake about it, United’s summer move for Griezmann just got more expensive with this ruling but word on the street suggests Mourinho is happy with his attacking options but needs a targetman to replace the injured Ibrahimovic.
Then again, with Zlatan recovering well and potentially looking at another season at Old Trafford, is this just United working up Griezmann and Atletico to try and accelerate a move?
This saga could go on all summer, folks.