Jose Mourinho is thought to be increasingly confident of securing a transfer for Antoine Griezmann before the end of June at the latest.
Having led Manchester United to the UEFA Champions League after winning the UEFA Europa League on Wednesday night, Mourinho will be given sufficient funds this summer in order to launch a bid for more silverware next season. As well as a lasting bid for the Premier League title, the Portuguese coach will also hope to make an impression once more in Europe.
Griezmann has long been considered the number one priority for the Reds this summer, and after defeating Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm, they are hoping to wrap up a deal sooner rather than later. According to The Independent, Mourinho is confident of landing the France international, and expects chief executive Ed Woodward to have the deal secured by the end of June.
United are prepare to pay £85million for the Atletico Madrid striker, a fee which approaches the world record £89million they splashed out for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba last summer. Griezmann is widely thought to be keen on a move to Old Trafford, recently stating he was ‘six out of the ten’ sure the move would happen – and that was before Wednesday evening.
The 26-year-old, who has scored 83 goals in 160 appearances for Los Rojiblancos, could be joined in attack by Andrea Belotti next season. Mourinho has reported identified the Torino striker as another target for the summer, having been impressed by the Italy international during a 2016/17 campaign in which he scored 25 goals in 29 appearances for Serie A’s 12th-placed side.
A central defender is also high on the list of priorities. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is a potential option but competition will be fierce for the Holland international, whist Benfica’s Sweden international Victor Lindelof has been a long-term watch. But a more likely option is Michael Keane, who United sold to Burnley for £2million two years ago and will now cost ten-times as much.
Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia has signed a new contract which ties him to Old Trafford until 2019. The 31-year-old was a £16million signing from Wigan Athletic when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Real Madrid, and although he started as a right-winger, he has reinvented himself in recent times and is now considered to be one of the most consistent fullbacks in the country.
“I am absolutely delighted to have signed a new contract,” said Valencia, who will be entitled to a testimonial if he completes his new deal. “It was a true honour for me to captain the team for the [Europa League] final. I would like to thank the manager for the confidence he has given me this season and I am sure that we will be challenging on all fronts next season.”