Manchester United believe that Saul Niguez’s €150million release clause is “disproportionate” and would be prepared to offer €80million (£70million) for the Atletico Madrid midfielder, according to reports.
Saul, who has had a 12-year association with Atletico to date, has become a crucial figure in Diego Simeone’s side over the past few seasons.
Indeed, the 25-year-old’s stock has risen after the departure of Juanfran and Diego Godin and he is now Simeone’s trusty deputy at left-back.
Previous reports have linked United with a move for the Spain international due to his agent, Jonathan Barnett, having experience of working with Premier League transfers.
According to Spanish publication AS, United are “determined” to sign Niguez as a replacement for Paul Pogba, who has been heavily linked with a move back to Juventus or to Real Madrid.
However, the Red Devils are reportedly unprepared to match the midfielder’s astronomical release clause, with chief negotiator Ed Woodward believing that an €80million offer would be more appropriate.
Furthermore, United‘s determination for a deal to sign Saul also comes from their belief that he is in his prime and is “perfectly” suited to the Premier League.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand has given a glowing verdict on Saul, insisting that his former side should do everything they can to sign him as a replacement for Pogba.
Ferdinand said: “I don’t want Pogba to go but if he does go I’d take Saul Niguez all day long. Not like-for-like but still a top player.
“What a player. I’ve been harping on about Saul Niguez for a few years now.
“I think he’s a major player. He’s composed, calm, great left foot, lovely conductor, he can score goals, tactically he’s very aware.
“You can see Simeone, he gets his teams really well set up and he’s in the middle orchestrating and dictating things.”
In other news, United midfielder Nemanja Matic has backed teammate Scott McTominay to become a legend at Old Trafford.
McTominay started the season in brilliant fashion but an injury curtailed his progress, before he made a stunning return with a goal in the Manchester Derby last month.