Barcelona are well placed to sign Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid when the transfer window re-opens, as long as they meet his sizable buy-out clause.
The 23-year-old has become one of the most respected and revered midfielders in Europe over the last few years, impressing in the middle of the park for Atletico as the Spanish giants have challenged on all fronts for silverware under the stewardship of Diego Simeone.
Saul came through the youth ranks at the club to earn a place in the senior squad back in 2012 and after being shipped out on loan to Rayo Vallecano for the 2013-14 season, he returned rared up and determined to make his mark on the team, which he has done to great effect in recent times.
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The Spain midfielder has made 206 appearances for Atletico to date, scoring 29 goals and the general feeling among fans and experts is that he will only get better as he approaches the prime years of his career.
According to Ok Dario, Saul has already done enough to attract the interest of several European clubs, including Man United, Man City and La Liga rivals Barcelona, with the latter reportedly the frontrunners in the race to secure his signature in the near future.
Ok Dario reports that as long as Barcelona are willing to match his huge £134 million buy-out clause, then they will be given first refusal on the Spaniard, who became a Europe League winner with Simeone’s men last year.
Should he move to the Camp Nou then he certainly has the qualities to slot nicely into Ernesto Valverde’s midfield alongside the likes of Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal, however, at the moment he still seems fully focused on his duties with Atletico.
Los Rojiblancos have endured a difficult start to the new La Liga campaign, drawing against Valencia and losing to Celta Vigo either side of a win against Rayo Vallecano, but Saul has once again been a standout performer with his technical prowess and superb reading of the game.
He is absolutely vital to Simeone’s current set-up and the Argentine coach will be desperate to keep a hold of him in January and beyond, but the lure of Barcelona could well end up turning the midfielder’s head if the price is right.