John Hartson: Arsenal must sign 26-year-old goal machine, expects competition from Chelsea
By Will Butcher
John Hartson has urged Arsenal to move for Atletico Madrid attacker Antoine Griezmann in the summer, but knows there will be plenty of Premier League competition.
Griezmann, 26, is renowned as one of the world’s best players at the moment, and is reported by The Sun to have a release clause worth £85.5million.
Speaking to the BBC World Service, the former Gunners striker called on Wenger to smash the Arsenal transfer record by bringing Griezmann to the Emirates Stadium.
However, the retired Wales forward is confident that his former side will overlook Atleti’s number seven, although he believes Chelsea, Man City and Man United will all be interested.
“Wenger needs to make Arsenal competitive again,” Hartson told BBC World Service.
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“But he does never seem to be in for the big, big players. This summer, Griezmann will probably move from Atletico Madrid and he’ll cost you £85million, £250,000 a week.
“We know that Arsenal won’t sign him, but they’ve got to. That’s where they’ve got to be because the Chelseas and the Man Uniteds will.”
The 39-time France international has proved once again this season that he is one of the world’s best footballing talents, scoring 22 goals and providing 11 assists in 40 appearances.
His form has inspired Diego Simeone’s side to a Champions League quarter-final spot, as well as fourth place in La Liga.
Hartson is not the only former Arsenal pundit to call on Wenger to blow away his normal conservative transfer habits and sign the former Real Sociedad ace, with Paul Merson also desperate to see Griezmann move to north London.
Football Insider verdict:
There’s no doubt at all that Arsenal would be improved by bringing Griezmann to the Emirates. With doubts remaining over the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Griezmann would be the dream replacement, if the duo do decide to leave. The signing of such a highly-rated player could even tempt the contract rebels to stay in north London, with Arsenal more likely to challenge for silverware with Griezmann in the side. The Gunners are not lacking in cash and would easily be able to match the Frenchman’s release clause and wage demands, but it remains to be seen if Wenger will move for the attacker.
In other Arsenal transfer news, 25-year-old midfielder wants Serie A move after a recommendation from David Beckham.