Transfer balls: Antoine Griezmann moves to Manchester United for the branding opportunities
The Sun continues to link Antoine Griezmann with a move to Manchester United. In ‘MAD FOR IT’, the paper’s lead sports story is that Atletico Madrid’s star striker ‘wants to be the new Becks’. Griezmann has ‘dropped a hint’ he wants to play for Man United.
He did? No. The only person talking is Griezmann’s ‘image advisor’ Sebastien Bellencontre, who, according to the Sun ,’says Griezmann wants to follow hero David Beckham by wearing the iconic No7 shirt at the Theatre of Drams.’ He doesn’t want to follow his hero (?) Beckham to Real Madrid, PSG or LA Galaxy. The Frenchman wants to be Beckham II at Old Trafford.
In the fifth paragraph of the story continued four pages inside the Sun, readers get to hear what the marketing man actually said. Bellencontre told So Foot magazine: “When I read articles about a hypothetical transfer to Manchester United I think it would be the ideal commercial scenario.”
Feel the passion, United fans. But not everyone will be non-plussed. Whereas Ferguson went for continuity, the current Manchester United hierarchy wants only to buy big, buy bigger and buy biggest. Bellencontre is talking their language. “I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on the [Ballon d’Or shortlist],” said Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward. “We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us.” Not the best team. The players with the biggest public profiles. The players who can flog stuff best.
What the Sun doesn’t report is that Bellencontre also said (and this via Google translate):
“He would play club Beckham, his idol, with the same legendary number 7 in the back … Still without any consideration sport, PSG would be interesting to Franco-French level, but it has already happened to International … ”
So he quite fancies PSG, then.
Le Figaro has more from Bellencontre (again via Google translate):
“The model would be a mixture of Beckham and Zidane. Beckham because it is his idol, but also because I would like to make it a fashion icon that survives his career. Zidane for French DNA, simplicity, family values, fidelity too … We want Antoine to finish his career at Puma for example. (…) For the Beckham card, the young European blonde, tattooed, talented. (…)
On ESPN, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s ‘former image consultant’. Although on his company website and twitter bio, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s branding guru.
The upshot is that is should United opt to throw the best part of £100m at Griezmann, they won’t just get a striker, they will get a striker with Zidane’s hair and fashion nouse, and Beckham’s fidelity and French DNA. Or something like that. Anyhow, it will be totally amazing and ensure another season of great business in the United soccer superstore.
Such are the facts.