Manchester United could rival Liverpool for the signature of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez on one condition, according to reports in Spain.
Saul looked set to spend the majority of his career with Atletico when he signed a nine-year contract extension in 2017. A regular member of their first team since 2014, he could instead be nearing the end of his time with the club. Even though his lengthy contract remains in place, Atletico are no longer counting on him.
He only made 22 starts in La Liga last season, 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.
In recent weeks, there have been plenty of rumours about a move to Liverpool. The Premier League side need a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum and Saul could be their man. However, he is only one of several options.
Reports over the weekend claimed that Liverpool had seen an opening offer turned down. Atletico are holding out for a very reasonable fee between €40m and €50m. It may not be Liverpool who pays that price, though; Barcelona have also considered a swap deal that would send Antoine Griezmann back to the capital.
Their financial situation may make things difficult, though. Indeed, the latest update from AS (via Sport Witness) suggests that Atletico think they are more likely to find a buyer for Saul in England.
While Liverpool continue to be linked, Manchester United could now revive their own interest, the report claims.
The Red Devils would only make a move for Saul, though, if they sell Paul Pogba. As the Frenchman enters the final year of his contract, a sale may be necessary to avoid losing him for free for a second time. They are working on a new deal for him, but are aware of interest from elsewhere.
If Pogba does depart, then Atletico will hope that United could meet their asking price for Saul. At present, though, they have received no convincing proposals.
Bayern Munich are another admirer, but as stated, a move to the Premier League looks more likely. In fact, he is “seduced” by the prospect of playing in England, where he thinks he would fit in.
Atletico are thus waiting for Liverpool or Man Utd to make a more formal move.
Saul described as ideal Wijnaldum replacement
Kevin Campbell, who worked as a pundit for La Liga TV last season, told Football Insider: “He is a very good player.
“I have had a close eye on him for a couple of seasons now and he is so impressive. Technically he is superb but he is also tough.
“He would slot into that Liverpool midfield like a dream.
“I think he would be a great replacement for Wijnaldum. I imagine he would cost a fair bit though.”