In a recent interview with The Daily Star, ex-Premier League midfielder Paul Ince urged his former club Manchester United to recruit Atletico Madrid playmaker Saul Niguez this summer when he said, “What United fans want is exciting players and heroes in their team.
“There hasn’t been enough of those in recent years at United.
“You look at Manchester City. They’ve got Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva – at least three legends.
“It’s the same now with Liverpool. United don’t have that at the moment.
“I’ve watched Niguez for the last two or three years and I really like him.
“He’s got a lovely build and can score some special goals.
“There’s a culture about him and he’s still young with plenty of potential.
“The thing is, he won’t be cheap – that’s for sure.
“And, if you look to get him in, you have to think about what happens to Paul Pogba.”
The Sun had reported earlier this month that the Red Devils were monitoring the Spaniard’s progress at the Wanda Metropolitano and were willing to offer him a significant pay increase to lure him to Old Trafford this summer. The same report had also mentioned that Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to pay £70m for the La Liga star when the transfer window reopens later this year.
Niguez’s Brilliant Spell At The Spanish Capital
The Elche-born talent has been a subject of a lot of plaudits for his impressive displays at the centre of Diego Simeone’s midfield over the past few years. His growing influence in the Atletico first-team was rewarded back in 2017 when Simeone decided to tie him down to a nine-year contract. Saul has continued to perform at a high level this season and was responsible for putting in two match-winning displays in the UEFA Champions League last-16 victory over Liverpool earlier.
The 26-year-old has participated in 37 matches for the Spanish giants this term, finding the back of the net on four occasions in all competitions. However, he is still waiting to bag his first assist of this campaign which is quite unlike him as he is usually renowned for his creative expertise.
Defensively, Saul has averaged 2.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.9 clearances in every 90 minutes of league football so far (stats via whoscored). He boasts an even better record in Europe where he has averaged 2.0 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 2.5 clearances per game in the Champions League this season (stats via whoscored). His numbers highlight just how integral of a figure he has become at the heart of Simeone’s midfield and so it is not a surprise that Ince is urging Solskjaer to orchestrate a move to bring the Spaniard to Old Trafford this summer.
What Will The Atletico Playmaker Bring To The Theatre Of Dreams?
Saul can make a significant impact at both ends of the pitch, which makes him a perfect modern-day midfielder. He has a good football IQ that allows him to scan the danger quickly and make some vital interceptions in midfield for his side. The La Liga midfield enforcer can also mop up well at the back as he tends to make a few crucial last-ditch clearances when his teammates are left exposed on the break. He is also not shy about putting his body on the line to block a goal-bound attempt from the opposition.
Saul has proven himself to be a useful contributor of goals and assists going forward as evidenced by his decisive opener versus Liverpool in the Champions League first-leg encounter at the Wanda Metropolitano. He has established himself as a favourite among the Atletico fans and has all the skillset to become a grand success at Old Trafford if Solskjaer can find a way to land him before the start of the new season.
Will Saul Be The Right Choice For The Mancunian Outfit?
Acquiring a midfielder of Saul’s proven quality will undoubtedly be a massive coup for the Red Devils this summer. The 19-time Spanish international will not only make Solskjaer’s midfield more robust but would also enhance the overall depth of the Man United squad. There is no denying that he will be an upgrade over Nemanja Matic and Fred as the midfield duo has struggled to find consistency with their performances during this campaign.
Saul could also form a productive midfield partnership with Scott McTominay for years to come as he will help Solskjaer get the best out of the Scottish prospect. The Atletico star ticks all the right boxes in terms of what the Man United head coach wants from his midfielders. His recruitment will also free up space for some of the club’s creative assets like Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James to cause a lot of problems for the opposition defenders in the final third. All in all, Saul will be an excellent choice for Solskjaer in the long-run as he could help the Mancunian giants compete for some major silverware in the coming seasons.