Barcelona reportedly appear to be the front-runners in pursuit of 26-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is also wanted by Liverpool.
According to a report by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have been handed a major boost in the race to sign Saul Niguez in the summer transfer window. The 26-year-old, who is also the subject of interest from Liverpool, wants to join the Catalan giants when he leaves La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
Saul Niguez has seen his stock plummet at Atletico Madrid in the season gone by, having become a rotation option instead of one of the first-choice midfielders for Los Rojiblancos. Having barely contributed in the Colchoneros’ La Liga triumph, the 26-year-old also lost his place in the Spanish national side for UEFA Euro 2020.
Such a decline in stature has now forced Saul’s hand, with the player ready to call it quits at the Wanda Metropolitano in the summer transfer window. The Spaniard does not have a shortage of suitors either, with Barcelona and Liverpool keen on signing him.
Barcelona have been in the market for a central midfielder this summer and were initially keen on signing Georginio Wijnaldum following the end of his deal with Liverpool before joining PSG. The eagerness to bolster the midfield unit is understandable, though, as Miralem Pjanic and Philippe Coutinho are surplus to requirements at Camp Nou.
In addition, Ilaix Moriba is facing an uncertain future at Barcelona amid a contract standoff while Riqui Puig has not been trusted much by Ronald Koeman so far. Such a situation leaves Barcelona with just three reliable midfield options in Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, which is why the pursuit of Saul makes sense.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are in the market for Georginio Wijnaldum, who, as iterated already, was once linked with Barcelona before he made his way to Paris Saint-Germain. To that end, Saul is one of several options being considered by the Reds, who have even tabled a €40 million bid to sign him.
However, Atletico Madrid wish to recoup around €50 million for the 26-year-old, whose preference is to remain in La Liga if he departs the Wanda Metropolitano. Therefore, Barcelona appear to be in pole position to sign the Spanish midfielder ahead of Liverpool this summer. What now remains to be seen is if Barcelona table an acceptable offer for Saul or if Liverpool produce a better bid.