Football clubs usually go to battle on the pitch. But sometimes the most important are won without a ball even being kicked.
Such could be the case with Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool this summer, as the three clubs reportedly go head-to-head for French international Antoine Griezmann.
There will be a lot of transfer rumours between now and the end of the summer window, some far more believable than others. But in the case of Griezmann, he could very well move on following an outstanding individual campaign for Real Sociedad in which he scored 20 goals and set up another five.
Not bad for a player who plays predominantly from the left wing.
With a contract until the summer of 2016, a reported release-clause of €30million and the chance to star at this summer’s World Cup, Griezmann could soon be at the top of many club’s wanted list.
And even before a potential breakout international tournament, his form and ability is such that it is no surprise the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and United are said to be interested.
He would greatly improve any one of those three sides, and according to Spanish website Fichajes.net, they are the trio of clubs most eagerly fighting for his signature.
If that is the case – and the links have been made before – then it could well be that the trio of Premier League sides could be about to embark on a battle which, in its own way, is even more important than the games they are set to contest next season.
Whoever gets Griezmann will be signing a 23-year-old with the ability to slot straight into the side and add a considerable attacking threat from the outset.
While Arsenal have long been linked with Julian Draxler, Griezmann has proved considerably more prolific. Similarly, Liverpool would be better off with the Frenchman in their side than the likes of Andre Ayew or Yevhen Konoplyanka.
And then there is United, whose left flank consists of Ashley Young and little else, with Adnan Januzaj destined to take up a more central role in years to come.
So while there will be plenty of battles ahead on the pitch, a very important one could be about to take place off it, and the winners could be in for quite the reward.