Manchester United have once again been linked to Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, a player they have been linked to in the past but never managed to sign. The 25-year-old signed a five-year contract extension in the summer of 2017, which would keep him at the Madrid club until the summer of 2026 – when the player is 31-years-old.
The player has a €150 million release clause as part of his contract, which is something that many clubs will not be able to afford to pay, especially in the climate which will be coming up after the coronavirus pandemic. It has been suggested by Spanish news source, AS that the Madrid club would accept a €75 million fee for the player.
It is suggested that Atletico are a club that has been affected by the pandemic and that this has limited their funds. Earlier this week, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in France were cancelled with no sporting events to be played until at least September and there is a fear that the same thing could happen in Spain.
Before the pandemic stopped world football, Niguez had made a total of 37 appearances for Atletico this season, scoring four goals, playing a total of 3,420 minutes of football. The Madrid club sit in sixth place in La Liga, which is outside the UEFA Champions League places and a cancellation could mean missing out on the elite European competition next season.
This would certainly mean the club wold miss out on further revenue, which could be troubling for the club. Playing Champions League football has been a staple for the club for a number of seasons now with the extra revenue being part of their budget. Niguez has spent his career at Atletico other than a season with Rayo Vallecano during the 2013/14 season.
United were once told that they would need to pay a club record fee to release the player from his contract, which at the time was about £128 million – a fee the club was not prepared to spend. However, it appears to no longer be the case. United took advantage of a deal for Bruno Fernandes because Sporting CP needed the money in January.
Niguez is represented by the same agent as Gareth Bale, Jonathan Barnett. This could give Premier League clubs, who would surely be able to fund the transfer of the 25-year-old an advantage if the player is to be sold this summer, or whenever the transfer window opens. United may be interested in a new midfielder if that was the case.
The future of Paul Pogba seems to be up in the air once again with report recently suggesting that the player would sign a new contract at the Old Trafford club but now the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus seem to be linked with the player once again with some suggesting that he still favours a move away from United.
Time will tell, but right now, United probably need to prioritise a replacement for Nemanja Matic which is a position that Niguez could operate in, especially in the fact that there seems to be many attacking-minded midfielders at the club now; Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Fred, other than Pogba himself. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be interested.