Atlético Madrid have denied reports that they are negotiating with Manchester United for the transfer of young midfield sensation Saúl Ñíguez.
Stories emerged over the weekend claiming that the English club were set to pay €20m for the 21 year-old, but club officials say that he is strictly “not far sale” and that they are not listening to any offers.
Antonio Ruiz from COPE broke news of a supposed bid on Sunday via his twitter feed, and today followed up that claim by saying that United had sent a delegation to Madrid to try and thrash out a deal.
Since then, news has spread around social media and the English press, with some even going far as saying that a deal to bring Saúl to Old Trafford was close to competion.
However, Atleti have denied these rumours, telling Mundo Deportivo that “Saúl is not for sale. The club are competing for trophies and need all of the players available to them.”
Ruiz is close to the club and Simeone, and is often on the ball with transfer news concerning the club, but it seems unlikely that Saúl would be sold mid-season especially given his impressive recent form.
Last month, El Confidencial stated that Saúl had agreed to join Arsenal before Tiago suffered a broken leg, but since then the youngster has been a regular in Cholo’s first XI.
He has started 10 of our last 11 matches, and with five goals in all competitions he is second only to Antoine Griezmann in the goalscoring stakes.
It is worth noting that Saúl’s agent is the notorious Jorge Mendes – who has close links to United – but he has always stated that he is happy at the Calderón and dreams of succeeding at the club he was raised.
Many reports incorrectly state that he has a buy-out clause of €24 million, the figure in his previous contract. He renewed with the rojiblancos back in May of last year, but details of the new clause were never made public.
Despite the recent signings of midfielders Augusto Fernández and Matías Kranevitter, Saúl appears still to be first choice and was one of the star performers in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Celta Vigo.
His versatility will be crucial in the latter stages of the season, and after captaining Atleti for the first time against Rayo last week, you would expect him to feature heavily with the club competing in three competitions still.
How impressed have you been with Saúl recently? What would his value be in the current market?