Manchester United have been tracking Saul Niguez since 2012
Manchester United were once again linked with a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez this week.
United may never get a better chance to sign him. The Guardian report Saul is available on loan and is keen to play in the Premier League.
The past two games he has been shunted out to the left wing, and Atletico are ready to sanction his exit.
Saul is a player United will have plenty of information on, having scouted him for years.
The Guardian reported in 2017 how, ‘Manchester United were regular spectators when he was at Rayo’.
Saul was on loan at Rayo Vallecano way back in the 2013/14 season, when he was a teenager.
But United’s interest dates back even longer. The Times reports United’s extensive scouting of Saul was sparked after spotting him and being impressed in 2012 when he featured at the Euro under 19 Championships for Spain.
Links have continued ever since
After his loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul returned to Atletico Madrid and established himself as a first team regular.
It was at Rayo where United’s scouts likened the Spaniard to a famous club legend.
The Mail reported in 2019: “There has always been something of the Bryan Robson about Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and that is perhaps one of the reasons that those closest to the player believe if he were to end up in the Premier League next season, Manchester United would be his destination.
“The similarities with the United and England legend were first made around the time Sir Alex Ferguson’s brother and scout, Martin Ferguson, was watching the developments of the then 18-year-old Saul, who went out on loan from Atletico Madrid to Rayo Vallecano.”
Now 26, Saul has played more than 300 games for Atletico since, with more than 50 in the Champions League.
Saul has become a gritty box to box player who managed more touches in the opposing penalty area last season than Fred or Scott McTominay did for United combined.
His problem at Atletico recently has become one of over-familiarity, with Marcos Llorente taking a more prominent role and new signing Rodrigo de Paul taking a key position.
Do United hold Saul in high regard?
Clearly if Atletico were willing sellers in 2014, United would have pushed hard for a deal. But there was no question of them letting him go.
Saul has since kicked on and won nearly all there is with Atletico Madrid. He recently lifted the La Liga title, to add to one Copa del Rey and one Europa League.
Now after a season where he lost a little confidence and has fallen out of favour, United have an opportunity to sign him.
The club may not still believe he could reach a ‘Bryan Robson’ standard. But United could still have high hopes he could fit well into the system as a midfield partner for Scott McTominay.
If United still rate Saul highly, they will push the boat out to try and sign him over the next week now he is finally available.
And ff the club’s scouts no longer believe he is a worthy addition to the squad, well, then United will either look elsewhere or continue with Nemanja Matic for another year.
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