Manchester United have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez as the summer window approaches.
What’s the story?
Saul is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium and is reportedly keen for a new challenge in his career after falling down the pecking order with the capital club.
Fans will be buzzing
The box-to-box midfielder made 33 league appearances for Diego Simeone’s men last season as Los Rojiblancos defied to odds to secure their first La Liga crown since 2014.
However, Saul is thought to have become frustrated at various points throughout the campaign after making just 22 starts, largely due to the highly impressive form of Marcos Llorente.
His subsequent absence from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for Euro 2020 is believed to have convinced the Atleti academy graduate that it’s time for a move away from his boyhood club, alerting several of the continent’s top clubs.
The likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain have also been outlined as potential suitors for Saul, but the Red Devils are believed to be in pole position in the race for his signature.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have long been linked with a move for the instrumental figure, with ex-United star Rio Ferdinand previously suggesting him as a possible replacement for Paul Pogba.
Ferdinand told a live Q&A on Instagram last year (via TeamTalk): “I don’t want Pogba to go but if he does go I’d take Saul Niguez all day long. Not like-for-like, but still a top player. What a player. I’ve been harping on about Saul Niguez for a few years now.
“I think he’s a major player. He’s composed, calm, great left foot, lovely conductor, he can score goals, tactically he’s very aware. You can see (Diego) Simeone, he gets his teams really well set up, and he’s in the middle orchestrating and dictating things.”
In the past, it was been believed that only a fee in excess of £100 million would be enough to prize Saul away from Atleti, but it appears as though that figure has now dropped significantly.
Due to the Spaniard’s contract situation, a new price tag of just £43m is thought to be enough to acquire his services.
With the 20-time English champions requiring added quality to close the gap on Manchester City, Ed Woodward must swoop for Saul this summer and acquiring the ”conductor‘ for his reported price would represent a final masterclass from the departing chief executive.