Reports in Spain claim that the midfielder is on the brink of a move to the Premier League with Manchester United leading the race for his signature to solve midfield issue
Manchester United are reportedly close to agreeing a deal to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.
The 26-year-old has spent the entirety of his professional career at the Spanish capital club but has fallen from prominence in the past year – starting just 22 of a possible 38 league games last season.
Saul missed the cut for Spain’s Euro 2020 squad and the addition of Rodrigo de Paul to Atleti’s ranks this summer means that the club are already equipped for his possible departure.
There has been previous speculation regarding the midfielder’s future at Los Rojiblancos and a possible move to Old Trafford.
Fans want United to add a midfielder to their ranks with Nemanja Matic and Fred struggling against Southampton in Sunday’s Premier League draw, with Scott McTominay the only other option in the position.
Earlier this month, those rumours spiked when Saul responded to a social media post from his former club and international teammate David De Gea.
The United shot-stopper posted a picture of himself back in action for United against Leeds in the Premier League opener and the midfielder responded with three clapping hands emojis.
Of course, such a post could be seen as simply a supportive gesture between friends – but it demonstrated Saul’s relationship with De Gea and led to a fresh wave of transfer speculation.
Even though Saul his since gone on to start in both of Diego Simeone’s side’s opening games this campaign, a video circulated earlier this summer that the player thought he was being pushed towards a transfer this summer.
In footage captured by Spanish media outlet El Desmarque , Saul appeared to be getting on a team bus before stating: “They (the club) are kicking me out of here, man.”
His agent Jonathan Barnett – whose list of client also includes Gareth Bale – claimed that there were ‘many options’ for the player to move this summer, amid suggestions that the midfielder could move to Barcelona – a rumour which has subsequently died down.
Barnett explained to Diario AS : “Nothing has been decided, Saul has as many options to stay as to leave.
“Saul will do with his future what is best for Saul.”
Saul has made 339 appearances for Atletico over a decade in the first-team squad and he has struck up a close relationship with boss Diego Simeone, with whom he has been a regular across seven seasons.
Would Saul help solve Man United’s midfield issues? Comment below
However, the Argentine boss has already admitted this month that the player could well move on this year.
Simeone told Diario AS a month ago: “I have spoken with him and we cannot put aside what is rumoured and talked about.
“If he stays, he must work as he always has done and if he leaves, the door will open in the best way. We have been together for eight years; I think we gave him everything we had as a coach and he as a footballer.
“If he stays, he must work without giving anything away in a competition with many people in the midfield and if he has to leave, we send him a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always.
“Whether that is to Barcelona or elsewhere.”
The Atleti boss continued: “Last season he (Saul) spoke with the club, with us about his needs and what he spoke about was the option of having a position on the pitch where he feels more important.
“And I consider that Saul became Saul by playing everywhere, but he or many of those around him see it as something negative.
“He (Saul) is very important for Atletico because he can play as a full-back, right-wing, midfielder. He gives us a lot of options to be able to count on him.
“He is a player who, in that version and playing how the coach needs him to, performs very well.”
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