Manchester United have opened dialogue with the agent of Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez and could be set to beat Liverpool to the midfielder, according to a trusted source.
The 26-year-old has spent his entire career at Wanda Metropolitano save for a season-long loan stint with Rayo Vallecano. That was eight years ago and he has since become an integral part of the Atletico side, making 337 appearances. The Spain international has enjoyed 227 LaLiga outings, bagging 26 goals and has silverware to show for his efforts.
He was part of the side that claimed the 2020-2021 Spanish top-flight title, scoring two goals from 33 appearances. Capped 19 times by Spain, he was not part of Luis Enrique’s La Roja squad that finished third at Euro 2020.
And rumours emerged earlier in the summer that Los Rojiblancos were open to letting him go to raise funds. Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp is looking for Gini Wijnaldum’s replacement.
The Reds reportedly offered €34m but received short shrift from the Spaniards. United’s name was mentioned in connection with the schemer.
And on Monday, reports claimed that £43m would be enough to get a deal over the line. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already recruited Jadon Sancho to strengthen his attacking options.
And the addition of Saul would mean a new dynamic heading into 2021-22. Renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano has now had his say on the matter.
Speaking to The United Stand (via talkSPORT) the Italian transfer guru suggests United have already started the ball rolling.
“Manchester United are among the clubs that have been in contact with Saul Niguez’s agent,” he said. “They have an interest in the player and consider him ‘one of the biggest opportunities on the market’.
“€40-45m (£34m-£38m) will get a deal done, no bid yet.”
Pogba could make way for Saul
United have already forked out £76m for Sancho while Raphael Varane may also be on his way. The club’s money men do not have a bottomless pit and so there may well be an exit or two.
He has shown only glimpses of his talent since arriving for a second spell at the Theatre of Dreams. The former Juventus star would still be able to command a sizeable transfer fee.
It might be one way to fund a deal for Saul and end a frustrating stint in Manchester.