Saul Niguez, the 26-year-old central midfielder from Atletico Madrid is apparently looking to call it quits on his time at the Wanda Metropolitano with Manchester United prepared to make a move for their long-coveted transfer target if reports from the Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo via (h/t The Express) is to be believed.
The left-footed mid-fielder has been a consistent performer for Atletico Madrid over the years. Having risen straight from their academy, Saul Niguez has played a pivotal role in their rise to prominence over the years. Since making his league debut in 2013, Saul has developed into an effective match-winner with his clinical performances proving all-important matches in numerous matches under Diego Simione.
Along with Koke, Saul formed an indestructible partnership at the heart of the Atletico Madrid midfield over the last few seasons. His 33 appearances this season include 2 goals and 1 assist while helping his team to the La Liga title.
However having started just 22 times this season, his number of starting appearances has been greatly reduced in comparison with his 30+ starts in his previous three seasons and is said to be the reason behind him making to making the change this summer.
The Spaniard is presently tied to a long-term contract with the Rojiblancos that runs till 2026 along with an astronomical release clause of €150 million, but, the report says that Atletico are willing to let him go for a price of around €70 million given the current circumstances. It also mentions the long-standing interest of Manchester United in the player, whom they have been tracking since 2014 when Phil Neville was a scout for Manchester United. His assignment back then had taken him to Rayo Vallecano where a 19-year-old Saul Niguez was already attracting attention from prospective suitors.
Image obtained via 90mins
The report said that the Spaniard is eager for a transfer amidst interest from elite European clubs. So far he is linked to Juventus, PSG, Bayern, Manchester City, and Manchester United who are among the select few who could afford what it takes to convince Atletico to part ways with the Spaniard.
Our verdict on Saul Niguez fitting in at Manchester United this season :
The 26-year-old box-to-box midfielder is a quality player who has proven himself from time to time on the biggest stages in international football. He is also highly versatile, having played in different positions around the pitch over the years. But the setback might be that Manchester United are looking for a CDM to consolidate their existing midfield.
While Saul has played in that capacity as a CDM 34 times for Atletico, he is someone who loves to come forward in an attack. At the moment, the Red Devils are looking for a player similar to that of their competitors in that position.
Looking at the trend, they need someone in the mold of a Kante or a Fabinho or Fernandinho, etc. Having said that, Manchester United might still make a move for him despite their limitations given the player’s stature and their long-standing interest in the player for more than half a decade. But they’ve already had an experience of signing an expensive midfielder only to underutilize him in Donny Van De Beek and we all know how that is turning out so far.
This is an interesting story to follow as Manchester United do have the requirement for a midfielder, but they might also have their own inhibitions when it comes to the player itself which is quite surprising given that the player is Saul Niguez.
As always, keep following ArseDevils for all the Manchester United transfer news and updates.