Manchester United want to sign Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez this summer but have set a maximum amount they are prepared to pay, according to Spanish outlet AS.
The 25-year-old is three years into a massive 9-year contract in Madrid and has a release clause of €150 million (£138 million).
However, AS now claim that United value the player at just €80 million (£73 million) – little more than half that release clause.
The outlet claims that ‘sources close to the English outfit state that Manchester United would never reach that figure or even come close, as it is an amount that they consider disproportionate.’
Under normal circumstances it would be hard to see why Atleti would let the lynchpin of their team leave for such a low amount, but AS suggests that the Rojiblancos may need to do some financial restructuring due to the current economic climate.
‘Saul has a contract with the Madrid club until June 2026 and is in talks with Atletico to improve his contract. It is not the best time for this and it seems complicated that during this general crisis in football, Atletico bosses would sign bigger contracts.’
The Spain international is currently on a reported €230,500 per week deal – around £211,000. United may hope to unsettle Saul with a bumper salary offer that the Spanish club cannot match due to their current financial circumstances.
Another reason that United could believe they can secure a deal so far below the release clause is Saul’s complicated ownership structure, with third party company Quality Football, led by superagent Jorge Mendes and former United CEO Peter Kenyon, owning a 40% share in the player’s contract.
As reported here on Monday, the terms of Saul’s contract stipulate that the club would have to pay Quality Football 40% of any offer made for Niguez, even if they turn it down.
So if Mendes and Kenyon want to cash in, rejecting that £73 million United bid would mean that Atletico would have to pay the duo £29 million to buy them out of Niguez’s contract. This is a fact that United’s negotiators will be aware of and which they could use to apply pressure in negotiations.
Any deal for Diego Simeone’s prize asset would certainly be very complicated, but the rewards would be great. As AS notes, ‘At United, the general opinion is that Saul is at the peak of his sporting career, he is the ideal age and would fit perfectly into English football.’
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