Manchester United have decided that they will pay no more than €80m to land Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez this summer, according to a report.
The Spaniard’s contract talks with Atlético are believed to have hit a wall, with Saúl holding out for more money, and that has given United encouragement that they will be able to get a deal over the line.
Saúl does come with a €150m (£132m) release clause, but AS claim that United would only be prepared to spend €80m (£70m) to sign the 25-year-old.
In fact, it is said that United wouldn’t come anywhere close to the €150m mark, and that sounds like a problem with this deal.
Atlético don’t actually need to sell Saúl. He is under contract until 2026, so to see Diego Simeone’s side accept close to half his release clause because of one bump in negotiations would be a real shock.
Saúl is still one of Simeone’s favourite players, having started in all but one game this season. However, the basis for these transfer rumours is that Saúl might be unhappy with his inability to hold down a spot in central midfield.
Simeone has deployed him as a wide midfielder and even as a full-back on a number of occasions this season, with just 18 of his 37 appearances coming in his preferred central role. It is said that United would be willing to keep him in midfield permanently.
The Red Devils believe Saúl would be the perfect replacement for Paul Pogba, whose priority is still to land a move to Real Madrid once the summer transfer window opens.
Paul Pogba’s priority is Real Madrid due to wanting to link-up with Zinedine Zidane!
Would that be the right move for the Frenchman? 🤔 https://t.co/gxHsq3O0Ht
— 90min (@90min_Football) April 1, 2020
The belief is that Saúl would fit seamlessly into both the United squad and the Premier League, and the fact that he is only 25 means that he could be a core part of the team for years to come.
However, Atlético don’t like to sell their players without a fight, so to see them give up and let Saúl go for around €80m would come as a huge surprise.