€50m-plus LaLiga swap deal leaves Liverpool, Chelsea in shadows prying

Saul Niguez Atletico Madrid TEAMtalk

Liverpool and Chelsea are reportedly ready to pounce on a deal for Saul Niguez if the midfielder’s surprise swap move to Barcelona falls through.

Saul has been mentioned as a target for the Premier League pair, while Manchester United have also been mentioned as suitors. In fact the latest update from AS (via Sport Witness) suggests that Atletico think they are more likely to find a buyer for Saul in England.

And United had been tipped to revive their own interest.

Things though have moved quickly on Wednesday and Atletico are now in “advanced talks” with Barcelona over an unusual swap deal.

It’s very rare for a straight swap deal to occur in the modern game, and according to Fabrizio Romano, Barca want money too.

Barcelona are prepared to exchange France forward Antoine Griezmann, who used to ply his trade with Atletico. The Catalan giants though want some money to accompany the swap.

Romano reports that both players are happy with the deal. The two LaLiga clubs are now talking over the numbers with Saul understood to be valued at €40m to €50m.

Griezmann was a £107m signing from Atletico in July 2019. Barca agreed to pay the 30-year-old release clause and the forward penned a five-year deal, which included a £717m release clause.

Saul meanwhile, bar a loan deal, has spent all his senior career with Atleti. And he looked set to spend the majority of his career with the Madrid club when he signed a nine-year contract extension in 2017.

He only made 22 starts in La Liga last season though. That was his lowest tally since 2014-15, which was his first season back from a loan spell with Rayo Vallecano.

Atletico’s recent addition of Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese has given Saul further cause for concern.

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Liverpool, Chelsea braced

And he now looks like nearing the end of his time with the club. Even though his lengthy contract remains in place, Atletico are no longer counting on him.

Barca are understood to be very close to getting a deal done for Saul.

In fact Mundo Deportivo reported as much earlier in the week. 

The LaLiga club’s dire financial situation means that a swap with Griezmann is a perfect solution. Mundo though have reported Liverpool remain “very interested” as they look to replace Gini Wijnaldum.

Romano states that the Reds are watching intently to see if the deal collapses with one eye on the 26-year-old.

The transfer pundit also claims Chelsea are in a similar position.

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