Those of us hankering for some Antoine Griezmann transfer news were frustrated this afternoon when the Atletico Madrid superstar flat-batted a question regarding his future at a national team press conference.
France’s star forward – a 9/1 shot to be the World Cup 2018 top scorer – has been widely tipped to leave Atleti this summer, with Barcelona most commonly mooted as his likely destination.
When quizzed as to whether there’d be an announcement on his plans, Griezmann replied: ‘I’m not going to announce my decision today.’ A juicy transfer scoop this was not, but it does imply the 26-year-old has made his mind up about where he’ll be playing next season.
It’s a statement from which there is little to be gleaned…or is there?
Do these bland comments suggest the Frenchman has swerved Barcelona for a switch to Real Madrid?
As the arch rivals of both Barca and Atletico Madrid, a transfer to Los Blancos would certainly make Griezmann plenty of enemies, but his insistence on waiting until after the World Cup before announcing his next move could heighten the possibility of this becoming a reality.
Buying the stars of FIFA’s flagship tournament has been a specialty of Real Madrid in recent years.
Real Madrid trump Barcelona in their purchase of World Cup superstars
They spent big to acquire James Rodriguez from Monaco following his efforts in Brazil four years ago, where his six goals earned him top-scorer honours.
Four years prior to that, breakout Germany stars Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira made the move to the Bernabeu, while Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro arrived in the Spanish capital months before he added a Ballon d’Or to his trophy cabinet.
Finally, Real recruited their first Ronaldo after he fired Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, scoring eight goals en route to claiming the Golden Boot.
Griezmann outscored his continental peers at Euro 2016 and his odds suggest he could well repeat the feat in Russia to become World Cup 2018 top scorer.
It’s the calibre of achievement that’ll see him rocket to the top of Real’s summer shopping list, so maybe the Champions League winners have made a pre-emptive strike that will be made public once the tournament finishes.