Saul Niguez set speculation into overdrive on Sunday when he said he would be declaring his ‘new club’ in three days time.
This announcement should nearly be upon us, and we are not expecting him to surprise the world by saying he is signing with United. It’s more likely this is an Atletico Madrid extension, or even an advertising ploy to get attention for a new sponsorship deal.
Saul is a talented player, who we would love to have, but Scott McTominay is becoming an all round midfielder himself who is becoming comparable to the Spaniard.
How Saul and Scott stack up
Firstly it’s important to note Scott McTominay is two years younger at 23 than Saul.
This season, injuries have meant McTominay has played in six fewer league games.
Despite this, McTominay betters Saul for goal contribution, scoring four goals to the Spaniard’s three.
He also has a single assist, while Saul does not have any this season. McTominay averages 0.8 key passes per game, compared to Saul’s 0.5.
McTominay also completes 1.5 successful dribbles per match, bettering the Atletico midfielder’s 0.8.
The United midfielder also has a marginally superior pass success rate of 79 per cent, to Saul Niguez’s 77 per cent.
Defensively, Saul turns the tide a little. He comes out on top for tackles per game (2.5 vs 2) and interceptions (1.5 over 1.3).
McTominay though is only dribbled past 0.7 times per game, compared to Saul’s 1.4.
Statistics via Whoscored.com
Our own Saul Niguez?
Saul is a top player, who we would be delighted to sign, but Scott McTominay more than holds his own when his performances are compared to the Spaniard.
Put like this, Saul might seem like a non-essential buy at £80 million unless the idea is to sell Paul Pogba and partner Saul with McTominay.
McTominay has come on leaps and bounds over the past 12 months, and his passionate displays have made him a real fan favourite.
He has shown he has the talent to match too, with his performance in the league win away to City last December one of his best in a United shirt.
Both players are intelligent, hard-working, smart defensively, and contribute to their team’s attacking play.
McTominay has come through United’s academy in the same way Saul has risen through the Atletico ranks to their first team.
He is still improving too, and has all the qualities to become a future Manchester United captain.
It would be wrong to say Saul would not improve United, because he would. But Scott McTominay can be everything the industrious Spaniard is now. He is fast closing the gap in quality between the two.
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