Manchester United and Manchester City appear to be
front-runners to sign Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez after Barcelona removed
themselves from the race.
The Catalans agreed a £15 million deal in October to have the
first option on Niguez among several other Atletico players, allowing them to
match bids from other clubs.
However, with increasing concern over Barcelona's finances
during the suspension in football due to coronavirus, it seems they will not be
opting to purchase the Spaniard, as reported in the Daily Mail.
Both City and United have registered their interest,
however, Atletico are reportedly unwilling to accept anything less than his
£135 million release clause this summer.
Players have seen their value drop dramatically during the
period of financial uncertainty surrounding football, but the Spanish giants
are said to be standing firm to make sure they get the full amount for one of
their top stars.
Atletico also have no incentive to sell, as Saul signed a
huge contract extension in 2017, keeping him at the club until 2026.
For United, the sale of Paul Pogba will play a major part in
whether they can complete a move for Saul, who they scouted as the midfielder
helped Atletico knock holders Liverpool out of the Champions League last month.
Reports earlier in the month said the Red Devils were
willing to offer the highly-rated star £85 000-a-week more than he gets now,
increasing his pay packet to £200 000 per week.
Manchester City have also been linked with Saul, with
legendary playmaker David Silva set to leave the Etihad when the current
campaign comes to an end.
Saul has scored four times in 37 appearances for Atletico
this season, including the only goal in the home-leg victory over Jurgen
- TEAMtalk media