Football: Manchester United in Antoine Griezmann's plans

France players Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba on their way to training at Clairefontaine ahead of today's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Sweden. The teams are level at the top of Group A with seven points from three games.
France players Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba on their way to training at Clairefontaine ahead of today's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Sweden. The teams are level at the top of Group A with seven points from three games.PHOTO: REUTERS

He wants to link up with Pogba at club level one day; France have form and injury issues

PARIS • Antoine Griezmann has hinted at a possible move to Manchester United after admitting that he wants to play alongside Paul Pogba at club level.

United are monitoring the France forward's situation at Atletico Madrid after a successful 18-month spell for the 25-year-old.

Griezmann is regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe after scoring 39 goals in 67 appearances for club and country last season.

He confessed that he would one day like to link up with Pogba, his France team-mate, at Old Trafford.

"I always ask Pogba about United," he said. "United is a huge club. I ask Paul about some of the players - if they're really that good and if (Jose) Mourinho's really that good.

"It would be awesome to play together with Paul one day.

DREAM MOVE

I always ask Pogba about United. United is a huge club. I ask Paul about some of the players - if they're really that good and if (Jose) Mourinho's really that good.

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN, who would like to extend his France partnership with Paul Pogba at Manchester United.

"But right now, I'm a father so a move to another city would not be the right thing."

United manager Mourinho has been told he will have to offload some of his players in January if he is to add new signings.

Top of his hit list is Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 32-year-old's representatives are due to meet United officials in the coming weeks, when they are likely to be offered the chance to terminate the German's contract by mutual consent, enabling him to leave on a free transfer.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, however, has vowed to fight for his future despite his woeful start to life at Old Trafford. The 27-year-old playmaker has started only one match since his £26.3 million (S$46 million) move from Borussia Dortmund.

Another player to not have had an easy time under Mourinho is the forward Anthony Martial, who has been overlooked for the first time since September last year by France coach Didier Deschamps.

Deschamps, ahead of Sweden's visit in a World Cup qualifier today, has said that Martial was not "at the level he should be" after being restricted to appearances from the bench this season for United.

The coach also has injury problems for the top-of-the-table Group A clash, with both teams on seven points from three games.

Juventus left-back Patrice Evra is recalled after Paris Saint-Germain star Layvin Kurzawa's weekend injury. He was captain of France at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but, at 35, has finally fallen down the pecking order to the extent he was excluded from recent squads.

However, he was a key player in the team that reached the Euro 2016 final on home ground.

"He's a top-level player, and he maintains his level by playing for Juventus," said Deschamps.

Kingsley Coman is another player who has been ruled out with ankle and knee problems, with Thomas Lemar getting his first France call-up. Bayern Munich forward Coman will also miss next week's friendly against the Ivory Coast.

The French will be wary of Sweden's attack. Panathinaikos' Marcus Berg has made a prolific start to the season by scoring eight goals in all competitions.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's international retirement has allowed other potent attackers to come through, and John Guidetti of Celta Vigo is also another promising forward.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

FRANCE V SWEDEN

Singtel TV Ch110, tomorrow, 2.35am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2016, with the headline 'United in Griezmann's plans'. Print Edition | Subscribe