Atletico Madrid want to sign Bernardo Silva from Manchester City and have offered Saul Niguez in return, reports claim.
Both clubs won their respective league titles in 2020-21, but are now looking to tweak those winning squads. City are ready to strengthen in a bid to go one better in the Champions League after losing the final. And Atletico will need to find reinforcements to stay above regular rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Now, The Times are claiming that a swap deal between the two clubs could take place, with Silva and Saul switching places.
Silva joined City from Monaco in 2017, quickly becoming a key player. However, his gametime has dropped slightly over the past couple of seasons.
Unable to guarantee him a starting role week in week out, City’s resolve may now be tested. According to The Times, Atletico want Silva and are willing to tempt City with Saul.
Spain international midfielder Saul came through the academy ranks at Atletico before establishing himself as a first-team regular. He remains committed to the club until 2026, but this summer they could go their separate ways.
Saul has already been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
The Blues were the latest to be linked, when it was claimed that Thomas Tuchel could try to add him to his Champions League winning squad.
It followed previous news that Liverpool were planning an approach to outbid long-time suitors United.
Now, to complete the list of the top four from the 2020-21 Premier League, City could also join the race.
How will City respond to swap offer?
Saul would give them extra quality in midfield, an area from which Pep Guardiola builds his side. There are doubts over Fernandinho’s future as he nears the end of his contract, for example.
Ilkay Gundogan has also been linked with an exit after his impressive season put him on Barcelona’s radar.
Hence, City might need more depth in midfield and Saul would be a wise addition – if they decide it would be worth sacrificing Silva to get him.
Atletico believe their offer will benefit both clubs financially. They are looking to sell Saul this summer for around €70m, which is close to the sum City spent on Silva four years ago.
It is not yet known how City will respond, but this could be a chance to beat three of their main title rivals for next season to a coveted target.
And not only their title rivals. Saul has been linked with European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who will be among the top contenders for the Champions League trophy that City still crave.