Chelsea have warned Manchester United that they are prepared to match any bid they make for Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, reports The Telegraph.
The Blues' interest in Griezmann appears to have spanned the reign of Jose Mourinho and transcended into Antonio Conte's. Chelsea scouts have been watching Griezmann for over two years and officials see him as something of a dream acquisition.
They have sat back while Atletico Madrid raised the release clause in his contract not once but twice. Starting at around €60m when he first joined from Real Sociedad in 2014, it now stands at €100m, which converts to roughly £84m.
Article continues below
That may seem like an incredible amount of money but when you consider Griezmann is now one of the game's biggest stars and has consistently scored hatfuls of goals for club and country, it could actually be deemed value for money.
Thanks largely to the new TV deal and their £40m-a-season deal with Yokohama Tyres, Chelsea certainly have the resources to meet his release clause, but, as the headline suggests, they have serious competition in the form of Manchester United.
Article continues below
Reports have suggested that Griezmann is the next big star on Ed Woodward's list. He is probably still beaming about his newly held world transfer record, acquired when he agreed an £89m deal with Juventus for Paul Pogba, but is not resting on his laurels.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have arrived in the summer but with his 35th birthday on the horizon, the Swede is very much a short-term solution, albeit a very, very capable one.
With pace and an incredible ability to finish, Griezmann is one of the most exciting players in the European game while his handsome face makes him a dream for United's marketing department.
While there is not much they can do if Manchester United meet his release clause, Chelsea may have the upper hand as they could potentially offer Diego Costa in exchange.
The Brazilian-born striker made no secret of his desire to return to the Vicente Calderon in the summer and was only convinced to stay at Stamford Bridge by Conte.
Griezmann going nowhere
But Griezmann himself may not be open to a move especially if Diego Simeone is still in charge when an offer comes in. He recently stated that only the Argentine's departure would cause him to consider his options.
"Simeone is a very important person for me, and that is why I called him before renewing [contract]," said Griezmann.
"He told me he was staying and that was sufficient for me. I'm happy in Spain and I have a lot of things to learn from him."