Manchester United reportedly have a ‘growing belief’ that they can secure the signing of Saul Niguez this summer.
United have been keen on the 26-year-old for some time but have been put off by his £128million buy-out clause.
But Atletico Madrid appear to be willing to sell the midfielder for significantly less than that this summer.
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Saul is under contract until 2026 and is one of the club’s highest earners.
And with Atletico under financial strain they’ve offered him to Barcelona and Juventus in recent weeks, with a swap involving Barca’s Antoine Griezmann put forward.
And that desire to sell has captured United’s interest, who could be on the lookout for a new midfielder this summer, particularly if Paul Pogba leaves for Paris Saint-Germain.
United are also interested in signing England international Kieran Trippier from Atletico, but that is likely to be treated separately to any potential deal for Saul.
The England full-back is eager to join United but Atletico are more desperate to sell Saul given his considerable wage.
Diego Simeone has directly addressed the rumours surrounding Saul.
He said: “We cannot put aside what is rumoured and talked about.
“If he has to leave, [I’ll] give him a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always. Either to Barcelona or elsewhere.”
The manager suggested that Saul wants to play a more prominent role, wherever he ends up.
“Last season he spoke with the club, with us about his needs and what he spoke about was the option of having a position on the pitch where he feels more important,” he said.
“And I consider that Saul became Saul by playing everywhere, but he or many of those around him see it as something negative.
“He is very important for Atletico because he can play as a full-back, right-wing, midfielder. He gives us a lot of options to be able to count on him. He is a player who, in that version and playing how the coach needs him to, performs very well.”