Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have at least three new signings in mind for this summer’s transfer window.
United want to improve the first team in defence, midfield and attack.
For the midfield position, The Reds have been linked with several players including the defensively sound, Declan Rice, and the deep playmaker, Manuel Locatelli. But United have also been linked to the out-of-favour, versatile Saúl Níguez.
The 26 year-old has played off the left, in central and defensive midifeld for the La Liga Champions, Atletico Madrid, although he has been in and out of the team due to a dip in form.
That dip may be a warning sign for United, who have been burned by high profile signings under-performing since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Initially, it was rumoured that Atletico Madrid’s asking price was around £68 million for their former captain, although today Marca conclude that a figure closer to £40 million will be accepted.
Several big European clubs have inquired about the restless Spaniard including Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and PSG, as well as United, but none have submitted an offer as yet.
Like many players at the moment, an exit may be difficult due to his current contract’s high wages. With the significant matchday-revenue losses incurred by clubs during the pandemic, wages, as well as fee, will be a factor for interested parties.
Earlier this year, Niguez is said to have aired his desire to leave to manager Diego Simeone. But to get his wish, he may have to reduce his wage requests.
Even at the £40 million fee, United can’t afford to have another under-performing signing on the books, if they are to bridge the gap to Manchester City.
Recently appointed technical and football directors, Darren Fletcher and John Murtough respectively, will be working closely with head-coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to minimise the risk of that outcome occurring again.
But that midfield signing needs to happen no matter what, and ideally sooner than later in this transfer window.