Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez seems to have deflected interest from Premier League giants Manchester United. He revealed that he is “happy” at the Spanish capital.
Saul had a brilliant season at Atletico, scoring nine goals and providing four assists in all competitions in the 2015/16 season. The young Spaniard has impressed during last season, helping his team mount a serious challenge to the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly in the La Liga. He even dished out some memorable performances in the Champions League, helping his team reach the finals.
Manchester United, who have hired Jose Mourinho as their new manager, are rumoured to be looking to overhaul their squad during the summer in order to get the Portuguese manager the players he wants.
Mourinho has marked Saul out as one of his top transfer targets for the summer, according to Spanish publication AS. With Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juan Mata under performing, and Michael Carrick yet to sign a contract extension, the Red Devils look like they will need some reinforcements in the middle of the park.
Atletico, though, are unlikely to let Saul go cheap as they look to build towards another season of challenging Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. However, Manchester United are reportedly ready to meet Saul’s reported release clause of £54 million.
Does Saul’s future depend on Simeone’s decision?
The 21-year-old Spaniard has, however, blown these rumours away, saying that he does not want to leave the Spanish capital.
“I’m fine in Madrid, I play often and I’m happy,” Saul was quoted as saying in AS [via Daily Express]. “Atletico is the club where I intend to stay. Simeone? We all want him to stay.”
However, Atletico Madrid’s future has a shroud hanging over it at the moment. According to Yahoo Sport, their iconic manager and former player Diego Simeone might be leaving the club.
Simeone has been the man who has taken Atletico Madrid from a mid-table team to a side that challenges for the title in the biggest of competitions. He was instrumental in helping the Rojiblancos break the Real-Barca duopoly in the 2013/14 season, as Atleti lifted the La Liga trophy.
The Argentine has also helped Atletico Madrid reach two Champions League finals, both of which, they lost to arch-rivals Real Madrid. While a second Champions League final loss in three years at the hands of the Los Blancos could prove to be a killer blow to Simeone’s (and Saul’s) morale, Atletico need their manager and their top players to stay in order to continue their good work, all of which could crumble to dust if Simeone decides to leave.