Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez says it is flattering to read that Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand wants him at Old Trafford.
Saul has risen through Atletico’s youth ranks to become a vital leader at the Wanda Metropolitano. Indeed, he was one of four ‘captains’ boss Diego Simeone picked for the previous campaign.
The Spain international has coupled his leadership qualities with a dominant presence in midfield, playing 35 of his side’s 38 LaLiga games last term.
Such performances previously attracted the attention of Ferdinand, who urged his former side to sign the 25-year-old in April.
Asked about potential links to United and how he reacted to Ferdinand’s praise, Saul told Marca: “Well honestly very well.
“I am very flattered that a club like Manchester United or other teams that ask about me take me into consideration, for me it is very positive.
“And that strong people in those clubs speak well of you means that I am doing things well at Atletico Madrid.”
Ferdinand was speaking about Saul’s potential arrival amid speculation over Paul Pogba’s Old Trafford future.
He 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 [Diego] Simeone, he gets his teams really well set up and he’s in the middle orchestrating and dictating things.”
UNITED NOW WELL-STOCKED IN MIDFIELD
United are unlikely to make a move for Saul, however, following their recent acquisition of Donny van de Beek.
The Dutchman is the second marquee arrival in midfield this year, after Bruno Fernandes signed in January.
The move means United now have several stars fighting for game time in the middle of the park. Fernandes, Pogba, Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic are also options for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Andreas Pereira is further down the pecking order, but he could leave before the end of the transfer window.
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