Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have dealt a major blow in the hopes of signing their number one summer transfer target Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman seemed destined to join the Red Devils over the summer and the Europa League champions were also set to pay his £85 million release clause but things have changed since then.
Part of the reason why Griezmann decided to extend his stay at Atletico was due to their transfer ban they received by FIFA. Diego Simeone's side will not be allowed to sign any players or two transfer windows for breaching FIFA rules over the signing of minors.
Atletico Madrid had appealed their transfer ban but it was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and just hours after that their star forward Griezmann posted a tweet that said: "Ahora más que nunca #Atleti #Todosjuntos," which translates to "Now more than ever #Atleti #Alltogether".
As Atletico Madrid cannot sign any players this summer and in the January transfer window next year, the Champions League semi-finalist will certainly not want to lose their star players now as they will not be able to sign a replacement till next summer. Griezmann is set to be offered a new deal close to £12 million a year but who should Manchester United target now?
The Red Devils have been linked with a number of strikers in case the Griezmann deal did not go through and now with that a reality, Mourinho is on the lookout for another top striker.
Romelu Lukaku is definitely one of the best alternatives to Griezmann. The Everton striker looks certain to leave Ronald Koeman's side this summer as he chases Champions League football and he would also prove to a slightly cheaper option that the Atletico star. The Belgian has also been linked with a return to Chelsea but if Diego Costa is staying he could choose Manchester United.
Lukaku knows how the Premier League functions and has kept on improving season by season and having scored more than 15 goals in his four seasons with Everton, he would be the ideal striker to lead the United attack.
The next player who has consistently been linked with a move away from his current club is Italian Andrea Belotti. The striker has been a revelation for Torino this season having found the back of the net 28 times and like Griezmann, Belotti too has a release clause of £85 million.
While Manchester United will not have a problem with his valuation, the fact that he has had just one good season in front of the goal, the Red Devils might not be willing to pay that much. Apart from those two strikers, Mourinho's team has also been linked with a move for Alvaro Morata and could also target Alexandre Lacazette.
Morata is set to leave the La Liga champions after not being given regular game time. The Spaniard was given his first-team debut at Real by Mourinho in 2010, and has since claimed he will be forever grateful to the manager for choosing him.
Morata has already proven himself at Juventus and Real Madrid and while he might cost more than what United value him at, he would justify his price tag in the years to come. And finally, Lacazette could be another option for the Red Devils.
The Frenchman is definitely leaving Lyon and he is likely to join Atletico Madrid as a replacement for Griezmann but with Atletico's transfer ban, Manchester United could decide to make a move for him as he too has proven himself to be one of the most consistent strikers over the years.