The uncertain future of Paul Pogba with Manchester United has escalated to new heights as reports suggest that a replacement is already being lined up – Atletico Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez.
The 23-year-old is one of the best prospects to come out of the Red and White academy and already has 8 caps for his country.
Saul is highly regarded by Madrid manager, Diego Simeone and has been a versatile presence all over the pitch this season. The Elche-born player is best suited to central roles but has showcased his skills on the wings as well.
He has scored 6 goals and has assisted 3 in 43 total games this campaign. Ever since his debut for the Atletico as a 17-year-old, Saul has chipped his way into the first-team selection and is currently one of the most influential players in the field.
His individual effort in the semi-final of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich helped his side progress to the final. The midfielder has been blessed with a brilliant ability to read the game on the defensive end and has all the makings of a European star.
The box-to-box role suits him perfectly due to his shiftiness and close control. The dominant left-foot is also remarkably wired to test goalkeepers from long range. Saul’s development has been aided by the 47 caps he made for his country’s youth teams and by the responsibility Simeone has placed on him.
Saul already has close to 200 appearances for the club and has just recently signed a nine-year contract with the club, which the longest in world football. The 23-year-old is tied to the club until the summer of 2026 and Manchester United will have to move heaven and earth to sign him this summer.
Granted Paul Pogba will fetch the Red Devils a high price but is it not too soon to guarantee a transfer? Yes, the Frenchman has had his fair share of struggles to perform at the highest level but all of United’s shortcomings this season cannot be blamed on him alone.
Both European and domestic sides have caught on to the tactics of Jose Mourinho which in the end resulted in United’s embarrassing exit from the Round of 16 stage of the Champions League.
January arrival, Alexis Sanchez have been equally ineffective from the wings and the team’s offensive quality has depreciated to a whole new level recently. While moves for the summer are being put in place, it would be wise for the Red Devils to start taking a hard look into the management rather than dealing away with their best players.
On the other hand, Saul can be a wonderful addition but it is unlikely that he will be sold while Simeone still sits on the chair at the Wanda Metropolitano.