Links between Saul Niguez and Manchester United have ramped up again today.

Fabrizio Romano claims the Spanish midfielder will leave Atletico Madrid this summer and United are interested.

It seems a battle with Chelsea is on the cards, but the opportunity to get a player of his quality on loan doesn’t come around too often.

The performances of Nemanja Matic and Fred at Southampton on Sunday might have convinced United to dip into the market for midfield reinforcements.

Saul playing out of position

That means it’s interesting to note that Saul hasn’t been playing in midfield so far this season.

He has played in a left wing-back role in Diego Simeone’s 3-5-2 formation, and also further forward as a winger at times.

That didn’t stop him picking up an assist in a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on the opening weekend of the season.

But it is something for United to consider. Is a man who has been playing on the flanks the answer in the centre of the park?

And if Saul comes to England, he’ll have plenty of adjusting to as it is – to a new country, league and club, without a pre-season.

Expecting him to readjust to central midfield as well would add another layer of complication. That’s not to say he can’t do it, but it’s something to think about.

Atletico Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League
(David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Diego Simeone admitted last month that Saul could leave to go somewhere he feels more valued.


He said: “We cannot put aside what is rumoured and talked about.

“If he has to leave, give him a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always.”

Saul had said back in October 2016 that he’d never leave Atletico while Simeone is there, but that’s exactly what he looks set to do.

Van de Beek a cautionary tale

Donny van de Beek’s fortunes have not improved this season as United have still not found a position for him in the side.

Any midfielder United bring in has to be capable of playing as one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s two holding players in a 4-2-3-1.

Saul has played centrally in Simeone’s 4-4-2 for years, but that’s changed this season and joining United could be another adjustment again.

That said, there’s little doubt he’d be an upgrade certainly on Matic, with his energetic style and dribbling ability, if United could beat Chelsea to his signature.

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