Antoine Griezmann has been perpetually linked with a move to Manchester United for a number of summers now. The French hit-man had looked set to leave Atletico Madrid this time around with Old Trafford his likely destination.
In a recent interview on French television he said there was a six out of ten chance he'd be moving to Manchester. But then the LaLiga club saw their transfer ban upheld and Griezmann revealed on Twitter that he would be staying in Spain. For now at least.
It comes as a blow to José Mourinho and co who have put in some serious time courting the 26-year-old's and his representatives. The Red Devils have now turned their attentions towards Inter Milan's Ivan Perišić.
Mourinho's men missed out on a top four finish this season but find themselves in the Champions League courtesy of their Europa League victory. How much of an impact would Griezmann have made on this Man United team though? Would his signing have made a difference?
Undeterred by real life events, we've used Football Manager 2017 to move the Frenchman to Manchester and simulated two full seasons. The results are Interesting to say the least.
Griezmann at Man United
Griezmann arrived from Atleti and Mourinho immediately installed him as the left-winger in his 4-2-3-1 system. Zlatan Ibrahimović lead the line and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was used on the right.
He missed just the five matches during his debut campaign in England and was involved in 17 goals. He wasn't able to replicate his LaLiga form but all things considered it's not a bad return.
The following year saw a slight role reversal. His assisted fewer goals (from nine to seven) but scored more goals (up to ten from eight). He still finished the season having been involved in 17 goals. So, he's consistent.
In his two full seasons in England he managed to score 18 goals and register a further 16 assists. Not really the elite numbers many had hoped for but remember, he's playing in a Mourinho system.
How did Man United perform?
Not that great to be honest. They sneaked into fourth with a final day win over already relegated Hull City with Manchester City drawing against Stoke City. Into the Champions League qualification rounds they went.
They finished 21 points behind the specialist in failure Arsène Wenger and they failed to win the EFL Cup or the Europa League. However, Mourinho did manage to beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final to take home some silverware.
A much better showing in the second season saw them finish in third position, just the three points behind Arsenal. Going into the final match it was Liverpool leading the way but defeat to Southampton, at Anfield, saw Wenger's side win back-to-back titles.
They got to the quarter-finals of the Champions League before Borussia Dortmund knocked them out. They failed to retain the FA Cup but an EFL Cup was added to the trophy cabinet. Disappointing given the arrivals at the club…
Man United in the transfer market
So, this happened. The Red Devils signed Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool signed Michael Keane. Even stranger though, Mourinho parted ways with Antonio Valencia for a measly £4.1million.
United went on a bit of a spending spree during the summer of 2017. Mauro Icardi, rumoured to be a Man United target in real life, joined in a deal worth £51million.
The club spent a further £80million on Nelson Semedo, Victor Ruiz, Danilo Caltadi and Lucas Torreria. Despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain in David de Gea, the Spanish stopper stayed in Manchester.
Tame by the standards of Mourinho's United, they spent just the £45million in the summer of 2018. Florin Andone joined from PSG despite only signing for them in January of 2018 for a fee of £32million. Wylan Cyprien, linked with Arsenal recently, arrived to boost the midfield.
The United squad for the 2018/19 season is stacked with some serious talent. Despite this, after just three games of the new campaign they sit in tenth and are already six points behind league leaders Spurs.
The squad is capable catching up but should they be playing that with the players at their disposal?
Icardi has only had one season with United at this point having taken over from Ibrahimović as the main striker. But is 13 goals in 32 starts really a good return?
Granted, he's playing in a Mourinho system but he was the penalty taker for the club. It seems like a disappointing performance from a striker who is able to call upon the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann for service.
‘Griezy' didn't secure them the league title in his first two seasons with the club. Maybe he wasn't the right fit after all?