Manchester United have reportedly eked past Liverpool and Barcelona in the race to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez this summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar on Twitter, Manchester United have taken the lead in pursuit of Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez, who is also a transfer target for Liverpool and Barcelona.
A product of the Atletico Madrid youth academy, Saul has been a regular in the first-team since 2014, becoming a key player under Diego Simeone. However, the 26-year-old found his role reduced in the most recent campaign, and the La Liga champions are now pushing to cash in on him this summer as they wish to bolster their squad with new faces.
Saul’s situation has alerted a host of top clubs across Europe, with the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester United all interested in signing him this summer.
Liverpool are looking at the Spanish international as a direct replacement for Georginio Wijnadlum, who departed the club this summer after the expiry of his contract. With Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struggling for form and fitness and James Milner not getting any younger, it makes a great deal of sense for Jurgen Klopp & co. to bring in a new midfielder, with an offer being readied for Saul.
Barcelona are in the market for a new midfielder this summer and had been pushing to sign Georginio Wijnaldum for the longest time, only to see him join Paris Saint-Germain. With Miralem Pjanic headed for the exit doors and Ilaix Moriba’s future also in question due to the contract standoff, the Catalans could certainly do with a midfielder, making Saul a viable target.
A swap deal between Barcelona and Atletico involving Antoine Griezmann and Saul has been mooted quite a lot of late. But even as they continue to negotiate over an arrangement, the midfielder’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has been in talks with Manchester United with discussions progressing quite well, as per the journalist, so much so that the Red Devils have gone ahead of Barca and Liverpool in the race.
Manchester United’s need for a new central midfielder stems from the uncertain future surrounding star man Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is in the final year of his deal with the 20-time English champions, but there hasn’t been much progress made in the way of an extension. Furthermore, Donny van de Beek could also be on his way out, with Barcelona being interested in the Dutchman.
Should either or both end up leaving Old Trafford this summer, Manchester United will need to bring in a replacement, making Saul an option worth considering. And, talks are going well between the club and the midfielder’s representative, as per the update from Aguilar. However, it remains to be seen if it translates into a summer transfer or whether Liverpool or Barcelona beat them to the punch.