Manchester United are said to be in the ‘box seat’ to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, with the player keen to secure a move this summer.
The Spain international – who was a notable absentee from Luis Enrique’s Euro 2020 squad – has found game time increasingly hard to come by under Diego Simeone of late, having fallen down the pecking order as Atletico went on to secure the La Liga title last term.
The 26-year-old had previously signed a seven-year deal at the club as recently 2017, yet a distinct lack of starts has seen him angling for a new challenge, with a move looking ever more likely as the window progresses.
Recent weeks had seen suggestions that he could be part of a swap-deal with former teammate Antoine Griezmann, although Barcelona appear unable to shift the Frenchman due to his current high wages, while Saul is likely to receive a better offer elsewhere, due to the crippling debt at the Nou Camp.
With the Premier League now seemingly the most likely destination for the midfielder, the Mirror are reporting that Manchester United are in the ‘box seat’ to make the signing happen, although they will face stern competition from bitter rivals Liverpool.
The report suggests that the player’s representatives are due in England this week to discuss a potential deal with both clubs, the Spaniard likely to cost in the region of £40m due to the financial issues at the Wanda Metropolitano – a fraction of his reported £125m buyout clause.
Even with that relatively affordable asking price, United are believed to need to raise funds through player sales before making more signings, having already splashed out £73m for Jadon Sancho and a further £42m for Raphael Varane.
One potential sale could be that of Paul Pogba, the club reportedly expecting a formal offer from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, with the World Cup winner out of contract next summer.
While there still remains the chance that he stays at the club for at least another year, if he does depart then the Red Devils will be in need of a midfield replacement, with defensive midfield, in particular, looking in need of strengthening with or without the exit of Pogba.
As for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp’s side saw Gini Wijnaldum depart for PSG on a free transfer at the end of June, leaving the club in need of a new central midfield addition to fill the void.
The uncertainty over Jordan Henderson’s future has also raised concerns, the Reds skipper with just two years left on his current deal and seemingly not one of the six first-team players who are in line for a new contract following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s recent four-year extension.