Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez could be heading toward Manchester United in the January transfer window, according to Spanish outlet AS, with Olé Gunnar Solksjaer confirming in a Norwegian television interview that the club are going to strengthen the squad.
As reported in the Mail, having played down speculation about January transfers in recent press conferences, Solksjaer this time was upbeat about plans for the near future, saying to TV2 ‘If we can keep these boys injury-free, we will take lots of points — and we are going to reinforce the squad.’ It is reported that there are two midfielders and a striker on United’s Christmas shopping list, and Niguez is believed to be one of them.
Atletico would never normally contemplate the idea of selling the Spanish international, who has made over 250 appearances for the club and has been considered by head coach Diego Simeone to be indispensible. However, it is crisis time at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Atleti lying seventh in the league with just one win the last six games, and their star summer signing João Felix failing to adapt to the demands of the Spanish League.
This leaves the club needing to raise funds to buy a striker in the January window, with AS reporting that a sum of €80 – €90 million (around £67 – £75 million) would be required to fund the purchase.
Saúl Niguez está en la cima de la lista de transferencias que el #mufc quiere concretar en Enero. Atlético quiere recaudar fondos para un atacante por lo qué hay una posibilidad de el trato se efectúe [AS]. pic.twitter.com/gEY7keb8Nk
— ????????ManchesterUnited (@mufcecua) December 10, 2019
United’s previous enquiries about the 25-year-old have been treated with disdain by the Madrid side and figures mentioned fell well short of his €150 million (around £126 million) release clause. But desperate times call for desperate measures and AS believe that the rojiblancos will listen to offers well below that figure for the versatile midfielder if they cannot raise the funds by selling another transfer flop, Thomas Lemar, who like Felix has also failed to make an impact at the club.
It would be a complicated transfer to pull off in the short time available in the January window, but with both clubs motivated to act quickly, it is not by any means unlikely.