Lionel Messi reportedly wants Barcelona to make a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in the summer.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Lionel Messi wants Barcelona to prioritise the signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid in the summer transfer window.

Saul Niguez progressed through the ranks at Atletico Madrid before making his first-team debut in 2012. Five seasons on, the Spaniard has established himself as one of the most integral components in Diego Simeone’s squad, while also becoming a regular fixture for the Spain national side.

In fact, the 22-year-old forms a part of El Cholo’s core group of players that have enjoyed a lot of success in recent seasons. A mainstay in midfield, Saul played an astounding 53 matches across all competitions for Atletico in 2016/17, while also chipping in with nine goals and four assists.

As the player continues to go from strength to strength, though, the interest keeps on growing in him as well. Manchester United were one of the biggest clubs who were heavily linked with Saul before they cooled off their interest in him.

Barcelona bound? (Photo courtesy - Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Barcelona bound? (Photo courtesy – Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

And now, Barcelona have emerged as the latest club that is set to make a move for the young midfielder this summer. The Blaugranas endured a disappointing campaign in 2016/17, as they relinquished their La Liga title to bitter rivals while also bowing out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals.

The Copa Del Rey triumph provided the Catalan club with the only piece of silverware this season, and it is believed that a busy summer of making reinforcements across the park awaits.

Lionel Messi, who is believed to have a say in transfer matters at Barcelona, is adamant that the club should seek moves for players who are already tested at the top most level, after the likes of Paco Alcacer, Denis Suarez, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes failed to live up to their billing.

The Argentine has, thus, asked the club to pursue a move for Saul in the summer, with midfield being one of the problem areas for the side. The Spain international would provide an upgrade over the likes of Gomes, Ivan Rakitic and Denis Suarez to potentially form a formidable trio with Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.

However, there is one sticking point in Barcelona’s pursuit of Saul – his release clause, which stands at €80 million after he penned a new deal with Atletico last summer.

Los Rojiblancos are firm in their stance of not letting go of Saul below the aforementioned amount and it remains to be seen if Barcelona are willing to shell out the sum to secure the services of a player who could definitely add a lot of value to Ernesto Valverde’s squad next season.

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