Manchester United weighing up new bid for Antoine Griezmann - sources
Diego Costa's return to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea has increased the likelihood of Manchester United making a €100 million move for Antoine Griezmann at the end of the season, sources have told ESPN FC, having abandoned an initial plan to sign the player this summer.
Griezmann, who will face Chelsea at the Wanda Metropolitano in a Champions League Group C tie on Wednesday, had been expected to move to Old Trafford at the end of last season following United's return to the Champions League by virtue of winning the Europa League.
United manager Jose Mourinho had identified the France international forward as a key target, with Griezmann also ready to embrace the challenge of a move to the Premier League.
But FIFA's confirmation in June of Atletico's worldwide transfer embargo, which prevents the club from registering new players until Jan 2018, prompted Griezmann to commit his immediate future to the Spanish club, claiming it would be a "dirty move to leave now."
Days earlier, senior figures at United made it clear that they would instead prioritise the capture of a centre-forward, rather than step up their efforts to sign Griezmann, who had earlier claimed there was a "six out of 10" chance he would sign for the English club.
It remains unclear whether United's withdrawal from the race to sign Griezmann was influenced by the player's reluctance to leave Atletico in the event of FIFA upholding the transfer ban.
But despite United's surprise U-turn on Griezmann in May, and the player's subsequent decision to sign a one-year contract extension at Atletico, sources have told ESPN FC that both parties remain admirers of one another.
Sources at United were careful to insist in the summer that their interest in Griezmann was shelved rather than ended, with the intention being to leave the door open for a renewed move without antagonising the player.
And on his part, Griezmann only committed to a new contract at Atletico after ensuring that the €100m release clause in his previous deal remained unchanged.
Mourinho remains a huge fan of Griezmann, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cruciate ligament injury ruling him out until the New Year and Wayne Rooney allowed to leave for Everton, the United manager accepted the need to prioritise the £90m signing of Romelu Lukaku from Everton at the expense of pursuing Griezmann.
However, with Costa able to play for Atletico from January onwards following his return to the club from Stamford Bridge, the Spanish club will have already addressed the issue of replacing Griezmann's goals in the team, should he be sold.
Atletico can also return to the transfer market from January, enabling the club to identify and pursue potential squad reinforcements in the event of Griezmann leaving the club next summer.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_