Despite being under strong criticism over the failure to sign a striker during the current transfer window, recent revelations suggests Arsene Wenger wasn’t indifferent to Gunner’s striker woes but quietly pursuing a deal to sign Antoine Griezmann.
According to Squawka, Arsenal manager was on a secret mission to bring Griezmann to the Premier League by signing him for a deal of more than £60 million. The transfer was heavily dependent on Diego Costa’s return to Atletico Madrid which would have enabled Wenger to convince the Spanish club to sell the forward.
The deal was expected to take place in a similar manner to that of Mesut Ozil which primarily happened because of Gareth Bale’s arrival at Real Madrid. Wenger hoped that the arrival of Costa would make way for him to sign Griezmann, exactly the same way Sanchez became available to him in 2014, following Suarez’s deal with Barcelona.
Griezmann scored six goals at the Euro 2016 for France and became top scorer of the tournament, while he was heralded for his performances in La Liga last season, after he scored 22 goals in 38 appearances. The striker penned a five-year contract extension with Atletico Madrid in June, which pushed his buyout clause to £86.2 million.
Wenger had hoped that this would have been his answer to increased impatience from the fans towards his transfer policies but it seems there will be no superstar deal this summer. The 66-year-old brought Ozil, Sanchez, and Petr Cech to the club in the last three years, and hoped that Griezmann would have been his big name, successful target this year.
However, Costa remaining at Chelsea means Wenger’s chase of the 25-year-old came to an abrupt end. Gunners can now only hope against all odds that Costa’s transfer follows through so they might have a chance to welcome the excellent French forward at the Emirates Stadium at some point in the future. An incredibly unlikely scenario.