Man Utd answer 'small team' jibe with record revenues
Atletico Madrid chief scorns Red Devils' pursuit of Antoine Griezmann a day before club posts quarterly profits of £37.6m
Manchester United's pursuit of Antoine Griezmann could turn nasty after Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo dismissed them as a "small" club.
The French star last year signed a new deal tying him to the Spanish club until 2021 and Cerezo has no intention of allowing him to leave early.
He said: "Manchester United? Small team.
"I believe in the contracts that people sign, that goes for [Diego] Simeone and Griezmann… I don't know what Manchester United’s interest is, but Griezmann will be at Atletico for a long time.
While his comments angered fans of the 20-time English champions, United see them as "little more than an attempt to force the asking price up, with Griezmann having a release clause in his contract of around £90m", says The Sun.
A day after Cerezo spoke out, the Red Devils revealed they were on course for record-breaking revenues of £540m this financial year and announced operating profits of £37.6m for the second quarter.
"Club revenue is up 18 per cent year-on-year, rising to £157.9m during the second quarter, with profit also rising six per cent, a figure of £17.5m," reports the Daily Mirror.
"Those figures are enhanced by a 40 per cent surge in TV revenue - a figure of £52.5m between October and December - with the value of the new Premier League TV deal compensating for the club's absence from the Champions League."
In addition, United generated the most revenue of any football club in the world last season, dethroning Real Madrid, who held the top spot for 11 years, in the Deloitte Football Money League after accumulating a revenue of £515m during the 2015-16 term, reported the BBC.
It was the first time they had been top since the 2003-4 season.
Atletico, meanwhile, were 13th on the list with revenues of £171m.