Barcelona are reportedly looking to bring Saul in from Atletico Madrid in the summer, with Lionel Messi preferring the midfielder over Antoine Griezmann.
According to Spanish publication Don Balon, Lionel Messi wants Barcelona to drop their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann. Instead, the Argentine wants the club to use the designated €100 million to bankroll a move for the Frenchman’s teammate Saul Niguez, who has now emerged as a summer target for the Catalans.
Indeed, the report does make sense in the fact that Barcelona’s attack seems stuffed, especially with the arrivals of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho over the two transfer windows, along with the return of Gerard Deulofeu. Antoine Griezmann, while, is a viable option to replace Luis Suarez but could also be seen as a player who will increase selection headaches at Barcelona.
In midfield, however, Barcelona do lack a bit of teeth in recent times, especially with Andres Iniesta being linked to a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Even if Iniesta stays, Ernesto Valverde has chosen to deploy the magician out wide on the left, with Ivan Rakitic partnering Sergio Busquets in a rather standard 4-4-2 formation.
Saul Niguez though, could be the perfect summer target for Barcelona, especially if Valverde is to persist with the 4-4-2. The Atletico Madrid star can play through the middle and out wide as well, if need be, which would be useful whenever Valverde wants to shuffle the pack.
Saul Niguez broke through Los Rojiblancos‘ youth setup to become an invaluable part of the first-team for Atletico Madrid. And while his return this season has been rather modest – a total of 4 goals and 3 assists in 39 games – his contribution to the team’s cause is more than just goals and assists.
Niguez has often been lauded for his consistency, tenacity and ability to produce magical moments on the pitch while also being a hard worker throughout the period he is on the field – a player that gives it his all.
At 23 and already a part of the Spanish national setup, the player could form the core of the future at Barcelona while also being a regular at present.
Barcelona do seem a bit hinged upon the idea of bringing in Antoine Griezmann, but could instead use the €100 million fee, which would have activated the release clause in June for the Frenchman, to test the waters for Niguez. A deal that is very dependent on whether Barcelona deem Griezmann’s pursuit as a top priority.