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Man United plot club-record £135m move for Spanish star – Could this finally pay off?

Saul Niguez is one of Atletico Madrid's key players (Getty Images)
Saul Niguez is one of Atletico Madrid's key players (Getty Images)

Why Saul Niguez would be a fantastic addition to Manchester United

According to the Daily Star, Manchester United are interested in signing Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in a club-record £135m deal.

The Red Devils sent scouts to watch Saul Niguez, 25, in action at Anfield earlier this month when he helped Atletico Madrid knock Liverpool out of the Champions League. The Spaniard is a key player for Diego Simeone’s side, having made 36 appearances across all competitions so far this season, scoring four goals.

Saul Niguez in action against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League (Getty Images)
Saul Niguez in action against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League (Getty Images)

The report adds Manchester United chief Ed Woodward is keen to bring Saul Niguez to Old Trafford and is ‘growing increasingly confident’ that he can sign the Spanish midfielder this summer, with the Premier League giants viewing him as a replacement for Paul Pogba.

Pogba has made just eight appearances for United this season due to an ankle injury. His last appearance for the club came during their 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day. The midfielder’s current contract at Old Trafford runs until June 2021, though United have the option to extend that stay by another year.

However, the 2018 World Cup winner’s future at Old Trafford has been up in the air for some time now, with Real Madrid interested in him. (h/t The Sun) Now, the Daily Star claims that Pogba is expected to join Real Madrid in the summer transfer window should the La Liga powerhouse pay United’s £100m asking price for the midfielder.

Man United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring in the Manchester United. (Getty Images)
Man United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring in the Manchester United. (Getty Images)

If Pogba departs for Real before the next season starts, the Red Devils must reinvest the money from the Frenchman’s sale into buying Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid.

United have closed the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to just three points by rallying around January addition Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese has scored three goals and recorded the same number of assists in his first eight appearances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, providing the kind of balance many expected of Pogba in a creative midfield role.

Despite acquiring the services of Fernandes, Solskjaer’s midfield still lacks quality and depth. That’s why signing Saul is important as he’ll not only add quality to Solskjaer’s engine room but also bring competition within the squad, which has been missing for the majority of the campaign due to the injuries to Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Saul has been one of the best midfielders in La Liga in the past few years and his performances have been extremely consistent for Atletico. He was a part of Spain U19 side which won the European Championship in 2013 and rose through the youth ranks to become one of the most consistent players for the nation’s senior team as well. So far, the 25-year-old has earned 19 caps for Spain.

Saul Niguez celebrates after scoring for Spain (Getty Images)
Saul Niguez celebrates after scoring for Spain (Getty Images)

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One of his best attributes is versatility, with Saul capable of playing in various roles across the midfield. If Saul were to replace Pogba at United this summer, he could slot into the midfield alongside Fred, McTominay or Nemanja Matic – with Fernandes occupying an advanced role.

Verdict

Saul is a top footballer with the experience of playing 286 games for Atletico, scoring 38 goals and registering 18 assists in the process. Those are healthy numbers for a central midfielder. All in all, the Spaniard would be a fantastic addition to Solskjaer’s squad, providing the balance in midfield that United have craved for some time now.

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