Manchester United are set to take on Manchester City for the signature of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, according to reports.
The Red Devils look set to lose Ander Herrera to Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, while the patchy form of Nemanja Matic and Fred means that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in great need of a midfield partner for Paul Pogba.
Saul to make Manchester U-turn? Five key things to know…
- Reports are suggesting Man Utd could spend up to £128m to bring Saul to Old Trafford in the summer.
- This is despite it previously being thought the Spaniard would join rivals Man City.
- Both clubs are in desperate need of some fresh blood in midfield.
- Pep Guardiola is reportedly lining up Saul’s teammate, Rodri, as his Fernandinho replacement.
- Atletico have already agreed to sell Lucas Hernandez to Bayern and are worried over the future of Saul, Rodri, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin.
Saul is an ultimately versatile midfielder, able to operate on the right of midfield, as well as No.6 or No.8 and could fulfil a number of tactical roles for both Man Utd and Man City.
But the Red Devils have been handed a huge boost in the battle to sign the Spaniard, with ESPN reporting that Pep Guardiola is instead going to chase the signing of Saul’s teammate, Rodri, who is seen as the perfect replacement for Fernandinho.
The main sticking point for United would undoubtedly be Saul’s £128m release clause, with Atletico likely to ask for the full amount as they also face uncertainty over the futures of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin – as well as already selling Lucas Hernandez to Bayern – meaning they will at the very least want to be well paid for the sale of their star talent.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Regardless, Saul could be part of a major squad overhaul as Solskjaer seeks to revitalise the Man Utd squad ahead of his first full season as manager.
Red Devils set for a busy summer
With the likes of Saul, Jadon Sancho and Kalidou Koulibaly all being linked with mega-money moves to Old Trafford, it’s set to be a very busy summer indeed for those at the top at Man Utd.
And ex-Red Devils defender Gary Neville believes this kind of investment is needed at the club, as well as securing the contracts of current talents and letting certain players go, if they are to again compete for Premier League titles.
“Over the last six or seven years, United have put £700m into that squad, and they’re still falling well short of where Liverpool and Manchester City are at the moment – they’re 16-18 points behind,” Neville told Sky Sports at the weekend.
“So what you have to look at is how United bridge that gap, and yes they will do that through the spirit that Solskjaer has created, but they have to get better players on the pitch that can compete with Liverpool and City to go along with some of the very good players they’ve already got.
“United have a big, big job. There are four or five players that Solskjaer will want to keep that are out of contract and he needs to tie down. There are four or five players he will need to bring in, and there are probably four or five players that he needs to get out.”