Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez might be Jurgen Klopp’s next target to fill the void in the midfield since Gini Wijnaldum left for free to join PSG last month. It has been claimed that Atletico Madrid have “agreed to sell” Spain midfielder Saul Niguez to Liverpool. After Atletico completed the transfer of Udinese midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, it is clear that the Los Rojoblancos are no longer interested in the Spanish international & are looking to offload the 26-year-old this summer.
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According La Razon, Liverpool’s focuses on the midfielder and Atletico says they are willing to sell Saul to the Anfield club.
According to Spanish publication La Razon, Saul Niguez “has in mind to put an end to his career at Atletico Madrid and is seduced by the idea of being able to try his luck in the Premier League.” Atletico are claimed to be “willing to facilitate” his exit, with Udinese’s Rodrigo de Paul touted as his replacement.
It is suggested, then, that “if Liverpool slightly exceeds the price that Atletico Madrid finally pays for De Paul, Saul could land at Anfield this summer.”
La Razon ‘s headline simply reads “Atletico de Madrid agrees to sell Saul Niguez to Liverpool,” and though their story is much more complicated, this is the line publications across England have picked up on.
One of the biggest concerns for the Anfield club is Saul’s wage bill. The number 8’s wage bill in Atletico is €7m per year after tax, which would equate to around £200,000 a week before tax in England. That would certainly surpass the salaries of Virgil Van Dijk, Mohammad Salah & Sadio Mane -who are the Reds highest payers.
Liverpool had been linked with a number of midfielders in the past after the exit of Gini Wijnaldum back in June. Liverpool have already turned down the offer of the 24-year-old midfielder Florian Neuhaus. The release clause of the Gladbach player is £34m. Neuhaus lacks experience in top flight football and that be the reason the Reds rejected his offer.
Other than Neuhaus, journalists on Merseyside have named Yves Bissouma, John McGinn, Renato Sanches and Ryan Gravenberch as other options.
Klopp is keen to improve his squad after the Reds fell short in their defence of the 2019-20 Premier League title success. They ended the season by going 10 matches unbeaten and eventually finished third, even though Klopp had ruled out their chances of qualifying for the Champions League as late as February.
“Yes, I’m very happy with my squad. Very, very happy,” the 53-year-old said after a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on the final day secured Champions League football.
“Could this squad improve? Yes, like each squad could.
“Is that affordable? I don’t know. Is it necessary? I don’t know. Whatever happens, we will see.
“I don’t know in this moment, to be honest. We have to make decisions in and out on all these kinds of things. It’s normal in the summer.
“There’s a moment in the pre-season when I hope we have the team we will go through the season [with].
“In that moment, we will work on being a really uncomfortable opponent.
“That’s the most important thing.
“We might not be the best team in the world at the start of the season, but we want to be again the team who nobody wants to play against because we are that good.
“And I think that’s possible.”
Saul Niguez’s record at Atletico Madrid
Saul Niguez joined Atletico in 2008 when he came as a youngster from Real Madrid. Since joining Los Rojoblancos, the Spainard has spent seven years in Atleti’s first team. After a successful loan spell with Rayo Vallecano in 2013/14, Saul Niguez established himself as a key man in Diego Simeone’s squad.
He has gone on to make 337 appearances in which he scored 43 goals & 20 assists for the club. In 2017 Saul Niguez signed a remarkable nine-year contract extension with Atleti, which is one of the longest in football history and is reported to include a release clause of €150 million.
However, after paying £30m for Argentine De Paul, Atletico reportedly want at least £35m for Saul Niguez. It remains unclear whether Liverpool will be willing to pay that sort of fee for a new midfielder.