Saúl Ñíguez renews contract until 2021

Midfield star puts pen to paper with Atlético to end speculation

Atleti have tied down Saúl for the forseeable future

Atleti have tied down Saúl for the forseeable future

Atlético Madrid confirmed on Wednesday that midfielder Saúl Ñíguez has agreed a contract renewal that will keep him at the Vicente Calderón until 2021.

The young star has been the subject of interest from across the continent after an outstanding season, but has committed his future to the red and whites by signing his third extension in as many years.

Details should become clearer in the coming days, but according to Mundo Deportivo, the buy-out clause in the 21 year-old’s contract will rise from €45m to ‘at least’ €65m.

A lot of noise has been made in recent months from agent Jorge Mendes and Saúl’s father Boria, but the player himself came out last month and said that he would “sign with Atlético for life” if given the chance.

He has stayed true to his word, and reaps the rewards for his fine form, in a season where he has established himself as a starter for Cholo Simeone’s team.

With 9 goals in total he is Atleti’s third top scorer behind Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres, and has played a big part in our title challenge and run to the Champions League final.

You’ve probably watched it back over 100 times by now, but his wonder goal in the Calderón against Bayern earned a crucial 1-0 win over the German champions, and he also set up Griezmann’s opener against Barcelona with a stunning outside of the boot assist.

For Saúl, the renewal is the icing on the cake of a perfect week, as he was named in Spain’s provisional 25-man squad for the European Championships yesterday.

Even Vicente del Bosque couldn’t ignore his excellent form this year, and his versatility could prove to be key if he makes the final cut. Now, he just needs a win in Milan for the cherry on top…

How impressed have you been with Saúl this season? Do you see him as a future captain?



  • He could very well be a lifelong player and eventual captain. However, if he does leave, I don’t think it will be for another La Liga team. He’d go to another league entirely.

  • Ringo

    Master of all trades, Jack of none

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    65 million as a buyout close is nothing these days, but for an Atleti player who is represented Mendes, I think it’s a great achievement .
    They are talking about 100 million for each of Grizi & Oblak, maybe Koke will be next, while Costa had a clause of only 38 million, couldn’t even make it a round 40 !
    And above that, we only owned from 60 to 65 % of his rights, while the rest belonged to Sporting Braga and Gestifute, one of Mendes’s companies that should be outlawed .

    Football Leaks has leaked Oblak’s contract few months ago, and he is earning 1.5 million per season plus another 300,000 if played a certain number of games .
    Oblak is willing to put the pen on 100 million clause -according to reports- and I don’t think we will increase his salary for more than the double, making it 3 million .
    I don’t know how much Saul will earn after this new contract of 65 million clause, but -also according to reports- he was asking for 6 million .
    If in the same club there is a player who earns 3 M and has 100 M clause, and another who earns 6 or 5 M and has a 65 M clause, then it’s just wrong . Very wrong .

    Fuck Jorge Mendes, and fuck Gil & Cerezo for doing a lot of business with him, did you know that we just sold Guilavogui to Wolfsburg two days ago ?! a player we didn’t need, a player we didn’t get anything from him, not football, not money, we just marketed him for Mendes who owned half of his rights, and he was the one who made profit, we didn’t .

    Jianlin needs to step in and stop those two assholes and their nonsense .
    This is not Sporting Braga or Rio Ave or Boavista to be a marketing agency for Mendes’s players, this is Atletico de Madrid .

    One Last thing :
    Gabi, Godin, Juanfran, Koke & Grizi have showed a great loyalty to Atleti .
    None of those is represented by Mendes .
    Falcao, Costa, Filipe, Miranda and Tiago (who didn’t leave only because he couldn’t) .
    All of those are represented by, and some of them is even owned by Mendes .
    Mendes does not build teams, he dismantle them .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    This is meant to me 😉
    I still stick to my opinion, although I’m very happy with this renewal .
    Do you really believe that Saul is better than Gabi, Tiago, Augusto or Koke in their respective positions ?! .. I definitely don’t .
    I think he is better on the wing than Carrasco though, he is much more effective than him despite all of the runs and dribbles Carrasco makes, this is football, not freestyle competition .
    But if you compared Saul to many other wingers -at his same age or even younger- he will lose .

    He is a master as a box-to-box midfielder, but when we have Gabi and Augusto or Tiago on the pitch I really don’t think we need a box-to-box player, especially against small teams . (In the last 15 minutes against Celta we had Gabi, Tiago, Augusto, Saul & Koke on the pitch at the same time !) .

    I will ask this again :
    If we signed a right winger like Salah or Mahrez, and Simeone kept his faith in Carrasco and the kid improved his final touch and became as effective as those two and made me look like a fool (I will be very happy with that), and if Simeone stuck to his two DMs, and with Grizi and another striker, do you think Saul can keep his starting spot ?!
    I don’t .
    With two wingers, two DMs and two strikers there isn’t even a place for Koke !

    This is simply my point .

  • Ringo

    Haha yes it was a joke aimed at you.

    It’s not something you could put that easy, I think. You could put Saúl on the wing but he won’t be a Carrasco or Mahrez-type winger, he’ll be a Saúl type winger. On paper it’s the same position, but when you put someone like Saúl there it’s a way different role. Same goes for, say, comparing Koke to Correa as left midfielder. You could put them there and compare the statistics (my guess would be goals in favor of Correa and assists of Koke), but your system pretty much changes drastically when choosing either instead of the other.

    Augusto and Gabi are better at DM if you force Saúl to play to play exactly like them, but that wouldn’t be the case. Just like he’s an offensive box-to-box midfielder when on the wings, he’ll be a more composed btb in the center, as he has shown in earlier games to be something that could work.

    What matters most is how he fits in with the other players on the pitch. And game by game that seems to be improving. His passes reach their intended target more oftenly after getting used to his teammates and he gets reached more easily by the rest of the team, too.

    Wherever you put him, he just fits. He doesn’t dribble like Carrasco, he dribbles like Saúl and we have seen numerous time that that could work just as well, if not better. He doesn’t pass like Koke, he passes like Saúl and his passing got Griezmann to score the goal we needed to beat Barcelona.

    You can have two DMs, two wingers and two strikers, but it’s not fifa where they’re two strong players with above average passing, strength and reaction, two players who are fast, have good crossing and long shots-skills and two players with good finishing and heading skills. Especially under a coach like Simeone it matters how you fit in the machine in its entirety, not just your particular position on paper. Atleti is all tactics, but not all sheets.

    In those terms, Correa would have been a fixed starter on the wing with his speed and dribbling abilities and Jackson would have scored 30 goals. They fit the roles as described on paper. But we can see that neither happened. They didn’t fit the team (yet in Correa’s case, of course), unlike Saúl, who against the odds is ahead of multiple players in multiple positions. Looking at the substitutions by Simeone, I’d argue that he’s even ahead of Augusto, but Augusto is ahead of Correa in the overall-midfield pecking order, at least for now. And Koke is easily ahead of either of them, I’m pretty certain of that. He’ll play in central midfield if two of Óliver, Correa and Carrasco happen to surpass Augusto (or Gabi or Tiago), I think.

    Plus, with it still being uncertain how fit and consistent and ‘daring’ Tiago is now after his months of absence, we’ll have to wait and see how he returns. I think he should not start against Real, at least, because I’d fear he’d be too careful to go all out after only playing like 20 minutes or so.

    And box-to-box players could always come in handy, no matter who we’re playing against. Because of all their running, they’re pretty difficult to mark, like Correa is hard to mark because of his agility or Koke because of his positioning and vision. It just depends on the type of defense you’re trying to crack, which tactic would fit best and, yes, a lot of times a player like Correa will be more useful if the opposing team tries to build up a wall in the back. But this isn’t always the case.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I will start where you ended : “box-to-box players could always come in handy, no matter who we’re playing against”
    Here exactly where I disagree .
    Saul was so great against Barca, Bayern & Real, but he wasn’t in many other games, like the 3 away games against Astana, Levante & Gijon, or the home games against Villarreal & Sevilla .
    He didn’t come in handy in any of those easy games, and if he did come in handy in two of those 4 La Liga games we would have won the title .

    Simeone keeps saying that “each game is different” but yet he is dealing with very different games with the same approach !
    As I said many times : for Simeone, it’s not about tactics or positions, but it’s more about which XI he trusts the most, we ended the game against Sevilla with 4 defenders, 5 midfielders and a winger ! .. because those are his men, while Oliver, Vietto & Correa are not .

    And some fans like you have been thinking the same way : “Augusto is ahead of Correa” .. why do we have to choose between Augusto and Correa ?! a defensive midfielder and a striker ?!
    You said : “Correa will be more useful if the opposing team tries to build up a wall in the back. But this isn’t always the case”
    I agree, but Simeone doesn’t, because Saul is always starting and Correa is always benched no matter what the case is .
    Everybody is considering this La Liga campaign a good one, and of course it is, but it seems that I’m the only one who also see it as a missed opportunity, every season the title is won with 90 or 91 points is a missed opportunity, we didn’t lose the title because the MSN are so great, we lost it because we couldn’t beat Depor, Levante & Gijon, who finished 15th, 16th & 20th this season .
    Of course it’s normal to drop some easy points, even Barca & Real did, but it’s about the way we dropped them, Gabi-Augusto-Koke-Saul against small teams is not working, I don’t think it ever will, because Saul is not a master at creativity or at breaking down defensive walls .

    You still didn’t answer my question, so I will ask it again :
    Almost everybody is asking to sign a creative player, and the press is suggesting that we will, so where will he play, assuming that our perfect XI are :
    Juanfran – Godin – Gimenez – Filipe
    Gabi – Tiago (or Augusto)
    Koke – Saul
    Grizi – Torres (or another striker)
    Or do you think that we don’t need any creative player ?!

  • Paweł Kosiński

    Ain’t that exactly what all box-to-box midfielders are supposed to be about?

  • Kris

    Because of the team we have turned in to recently, i.e, a European powerhouse, I think we will need someone proven in the creative role and striker role to add depth, and most of all add the value we have been missing in these roles. Of course, we also need a backup to Filipe who has been absolutely phenomenal this season.

    The team you have down is way too defensive and that is the reason why we fell in the title race multiple times last season, the season before that, and this season. Defense can win you cup competitions, but a competition with 38 games? That’s something different. You need to be able to crack down teams who will play defensive football and when we are the 3rd best team, even attacking-wise, the other 17 “inferior” (I hate to use that word, no disrespect to any of the teams except Getafe, fuck them) teams will try to park the bus. And in that case, we can’t open them up because our team is filled with defensive players, except the two up top.

    I think even in an ideal XI against a better attacking side, we should still play with Carrasco than Augusto, even though you don’t think he’s good enough statistically. He’s always going to be a nuisance to the opposition even if he doesn’t have the best final product, and we need his pace and ability to dribble.

    Still, it all goes down to Simeone and his “trusted XI”, hence no Vietto, Correa, Oliver, and Thomas. Sad but true reality. Trust is greater than merit for Mr. Simeone. It works in cup competitions but does not work as well when you play 19 teams twice a season. I am not complaining, but please please bring the Champions League trophy to the Vicente Calderon on the 28th of May.

  • Karlp

    Do you know who is currently managed by Mendes and who is owned by 3rd party?

    As I know,
    – managed by Mendes: Saul, Filipe, Tiago, Diogo Jota
    – owned by 3rd party: Saul (40%), Koke (30%), Oliver (25%)

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Bernard Mensah & Santos Borre are owned by Mendes, Emiliano Velazquez is represented by him but I’m not sure if he owns some of his rights .
    Is there anybody else we have signed but he hasn’t put Atleti’s shirt on yet beside those three and Jota ?!
    Mensah, whom we paid 10 million for has played only 50 minutes in La Liga and 150 in Copa del Rey for fucking relegated Getafe !!
    10 fucking million .

    I won’t b surprised if we discovered later that we have sold some shares of the rights of more young talents, Manquillo for example, who was a part of the Oliver-Saul-Manquillo trio who spent too many years together in Atleti’s and Spain’s youth teams .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I said before that I have a theory that Simeone didn’t give Guilavougi, Cerci & Jimenez any real chances because of their 3rd party ownership .
    I have no proof, and I haven’t heard anybody else talk about that, but I have heard Simeone a lot talking about a “project”, and you can’t build a project with 3rd party players who can leave you at any transfer window and will not have any say about it .

    Again, That’s one of the things I love and appreciate the most about Simeone, he is here to build something, something big, you have to look many years back to find a season where we had 7 homegrown players at the first team . That’s how you build a winning team, look at Ferguson’s United at at Barca of the last decade, then compare their achievements to those of the Galacticos, the first and the second .
    For me, an average solider is better than a world-class mercenary, so how about a world-class solider, like Saul, Koke & co.

    If Simeone came 3 or 4 years earlier maybe he would have given the 18-year-old De Gea a chances instead of the disastrous Leo Franco & Coupet (Sir Alex Ferguson has been following De Gea since he was 17, but Aguirre didn’t !) and maybe he would have given the 18-year-old Alvaro Dominguez a chance instead of the light post Pablo Ibáñez .
    Maybe we would have won couple more trophies or at least had couple more participations in UCL .

    Before Simeone I used to say to my friends : “Perea has sacked many Atleti coaches” .. because they kept insisting on him and he kept insisting on making fatal mistakes, but when Simeone came he said to him : Thank you for all what you have done for this club, but get the hell out of here .
    So, I don’t think he will open his arms for Borre or Mensah or maybe even Jota .

  • Karlp

    Wow, and from the little I see, Mensah-Borre-Velazquez aren’t at Atleti level at all. At least Jota looks promising. It’s like the team owe something to Mendes and tries to repay him somehow.

    Last March/April, we signed a 17 year old South American forward with a weird name which I don’t remember

  • The Prince 107

    Bro Rome wasn’t build in a day Simeone is a clever guy he will realize there are weaknesses. He needs to get the right personal in before buying players that can mess up the balance of the team. The way I see it we need to buy a good right winger. Carrasco is slowly getting there remember he is still young so our wing situation is almost sorted out we just need a good right winger and strike asap