The president of Atletico Madrid has denied any knowledge of a move from Liverpool to acquire the services of midfielder Saul Niguez.
Saul is expected to leave Atletico this summer, seemingly against his will. The midfielder is under contract there until 2026, as part of a nine-year agreement he signed in four years ago. It seems his club’s opinion of him has changed since then and he will not be seeing out the entire contract.
Atletico need to sell before they can buy more players this summer. Saul is a likely candidate to make way, especially after the one player they have paid for, Rodrigo De Paul, will add further competition for his place in midfield.
A move to the Premier League seems to be the most likely solution for Saul, who would like to play in England. Liverpool and Manchester United have been linked with the 26-year-old.
Of the pair, it seems Liverpool are showing the most interest. They need to sign a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who left on a free transfer for Paris Saint-Germain.
Monday’s Euro Paper Talk relayed that Saul’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has been in contact with Liverpool and United to gauge their interest.
There have even been claims of an opening bid from Liverpool, although not one of an acceptable standard for Atletico.
It appears to be news to Atleti president Enrique Cerezo, though. He claims others at the club will be aware of any concrete developments. But he personally remains unsure whether Liverpool have made a move.
He said: “A lot of people will ask about all the players, as always, but in this case I don’t know if Liverpool has acted.
“We do have a technical service that deals with this very well and will be aware of everything.”
Cerezo responds to Griezmann links
Another option for Saul to leave Atletico would be to move to Barcelona in a swap deal that would see Antoine Griezmann return to the Wanda Metropolitano.
It seems a difficult deal to arrange, though, and the chances of it happening have been played down.
Asked if Griezmann could return to Atleti, Cerezo said: “I have no idea. They haven’t told me anything; I don’t know anything.
“I do not know how the negotiations are, not even if there are any. But there is time left for you to know what is going to happen.
“In the world of football everything is possible. But in the Griezmann’s case I have no idea, nor have I asked.”