According to a recent report by The Daily Star, Manchester United are growing in confidence about their chances of bringing Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez to Old Trafford during the summer transfer window. The same source has also revealed that the Red Devils are looking to sign a replacement for Paul Pogba and have identified the La Liga playmaker ahead of a club-record £135m transfer in the off-season.
Niguez’s Remarkable Career At The Spanish Capital
A lot of praise has been showered on Saul for his performances for Diego Simeone’s side over the past few years. He has continued to perform at a high level in this campaign as well. The Spaniard put in two match-winning performances in his team’s 4-2 aggregate victory over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League last-16 which has been the highlight of his season so far.
The 25-year-old has made 37 appearances for the La Liga outfit this term, finding the back of the net on four occasions across all competitions. However, to the surprise of many Atletico fans, he is yet to earn his first assist of this campaign.
More importantly, Saul has averaged 2.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.9 clearances per 90 minutes of league football so far. To his credit, he has a slightly better record in the Champions League where he is averaging 2.0 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 2.5 clearances per game in the eight European matches he has featured in this season (stats via whoscored). His numbers highlight his growing influence at the Wanda Metropolitano, so it is no wonder that Man United have to break their transfer record if they are serious about landing him this summer.
In contrast, Pogba has endured a frustrating campaign at the Theatre of Dreams after struggling with a serious ankle injury which has kept him out of action for a lot of games thus far. The Frenchman has only made eight appearances for the Red Devils while picking up two assists in the process. Therefore, as far as stats are concerned, Saul seems like he will be an upgrade over Pogba due to his incredible durability and overall impact in midfield.
What Will The 19-Time Spanish International Add To Solskjaer’s Team?
Saul is an all-around midfielder who can impact the game at both ends of the pitch. He is always willing to close down the opposition and can make a few well-timed tackles to win possession back for his side. The Spaniard can also read the danger quickly and deal with them when his teammates are left exposed on the counter. He is also a significant goal-threat from midfield but needs to improve his productivity in the final third if he wants to win some major silverware in the coming years.
Will Saul Be A Good Replacement For Pogba This Summer?
When both players are firing on all cylinders, Pogba might have the edge over Saul as he is a more gifted footballer. But the ex-Juventus midfielder’s form in recent years has been poor under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while Saul has continued to flourish as a key component in Simeone’s first-team. Therefore, if Man United are looking for more stability, then replacing Pogba with Saul seems to be the right call at the moment.
The Elche-born talent will not only add some bite and steel to Solskjaer’s midfield but also bring a winning mentality back to the Man United dressing room. Furthermore, he could form a fierce midfield partnership with the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred after they showed some signs of improvement in recent months.
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