Liverpool could be set to rival Manchester United for the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez this summer.
What’s the story?
According to Empire of the Kop’s Insider, Liverpool’s director of football Michael Edwards has become aware of Atleti’s willingness to sell the 26-year-old, with the club now heavily contemplating an approach for the star.
Saul is reportedly available for a bargain price of £40 million over the upcoming transfer window due to the Spain international having just a year to run on his current contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The beastly midfielder played a pivotal part as Diego Simeone’s men won their second La Liga crown in eight seasons, featuring 33 times for Los Rojiblancos during their successful league campaign.
However, after failing to make Luis Enrique’s Euro 2020 squad, Saul is reportedly keen for a new challenge after spending the entirety of his senior career with his boyhood club, bar a brief loan spell away with Rayo Vallecano.
His omission from the national team for this summer’s tournament came as somewhat of a surprise to many onlookers, especially as his displays for La Furia Roja in the past have earned rave reviews.
“We have never had a midfielder like this,” claimed Spanish football expert Guillem Balague after Saul put in standout performances against Croatia and England in the Nations League. “Finally, people have realised the talent that this man has.
“As an 18-year-old he was offered to Everton, and they said no, as a 20-year-old he was offered to Manchester United, and they said no but I think in the next couple of years we will be talking about him as one of the top, if not the top midfielder in Europe.
“He can play in the Simeone style without the ball, quick putting teams under pressure, but also in the Barcelona style if he wanted to, quick with his passes, and of course he has got the physique to come from deep as he did with one of the goals against Croatia. You have got everything in one player.”
Jurgen Klopp is in need of reinforcements in the Liverpool engine room over the coming months, with Gini Wijnaldum expected to complete a free transfer to Barcelona.
The 30-year-old’s departure will leave a substantial hole in the Anfield outfit’s engine room, although it’s one that Saul certainly has the ability to fill.
Acquiring Saul’s signature would represent a masterclass from Edwards, not only due to the world-class quality that the all-rounder possesses but also because of the competition that the Reds are expected to face to secure his services.
European giants Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in Atleti’s prized asset, while United are thought to be in pole position.