Recent reports from the Daily Mail suggest that Manchester United are keen on signing Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in the ongoing transfer window as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to add to his options at the centre of the park.
The Spaniard’s £128million valuation is an obvious barrier for United; however, Atletico could be forced to sell the player for around £45m as they are under tremendous financial pressure. Moreover, the Rojiblancos want to balance out their wage book by getting rid of the 25-year-old’s €300,000-a-week salary.
Barcelona and Liverpool are believed to be interested in the player.
Saul’s Struggles At The Metropolitano Stadium
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have become one of the best teams in La Liga, but Saul Niguez is still quite far from realising his true potential.
He made 33 appearances in Atletico’s title-winning campaign last season, but 11 of those were from the bench. This is particularly surprising because from 2017 to 2020, he had started 102 of a possible 104 league games.
It’s beyond any doubt that the 25-year-old midfielder possesses a wide range of technical abilities; however, he is often accused of a low work rate – especially when it comes to high-intensity pressing.
Going by his stats, the Spaniard managed to put up some very mediocre numbers on the board the last term as he averaged 1.7 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 0.9 clearances and 0.7 key passes per 90 minutes in the Spanish top flight. As evident from the statistics, Saul needs to work quite hard to improve upon his defensive efficiency.
One of his many plus points is the versatility that allows him to operate in multiple positions across midfield – be it as a box-to-box defensive midfielder or a central midfielder; however, Saul is often seen struggling in set-ups which provide him with a more attacking role.
What Will He Bring To The Theatre Of Dreams?
Nemanja Matic will turn 33 next month, whereas Paul Pogba seems set to leave the club in the coming weeks. Saul Niguez can act as a direct replacement for the Frenchman in the long term but could be asked to fill in the defensive midfield position initially.
The Spaniard’s arrival at Old Trafford will undoubtedly strengthen Solskjaer’s midfield department, and he could potentially be the final piece of the puzzle the Norwegian tactician needs to turn Manchester United into serious title contenders.
At 25, the Elche-born midfielder has a lot to offer, so it won’t be a complete surprise if Solskjaer goes to great lengths to secure his signature.
(Stats from WhoScored)