The agents of Saul Niguez will fly to England soon for talks. Manchester United think they can get him now and Erling Haaland next year.
Jadon Sancho has already arrived and Raphael Varane seems destined to join him, but Manchester United remain active in the transfer market. They wanted a winger, a centre-half, a midfielder and a right-back and with the first two delivered, work is being done to try and secure the rest.
Saul Niguez seems the most likely candidate for the midfield role. Atletico Madrid need to sell to boost their financial situation and have supposedly set their mind on letting two key players go for decent money. Saul’s buyout clause of more than £100m would be handy.
Yet the Spanish champions know full well they cannot fetch that much. Saul would go for between £35m and £40m in a limited market and the Premier League is where the money is right now.
Many English clubs have been linked and the Sunday Mirror and Saul’s representatives will fly to the country on Monday to hold talks, with Manchester United ‘in the box seat’ and Liverpool not far behind.
The 26-year-old wants his future clarified before the Spanish and English seasons start in mid-August. After a reduced number of starts under Diego Simeone last campaign, it seems a change of scenery is afoot.
That tallies with an extensive report in ESPN on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and crew’s transfer window. They report that while it is possible Manchester United will make only two major signings this summer, many other targets are being monitored.
Saul is among those who director Matt Judge has spoken to the representatives of. Eduardo Camavinga and Ruben Neves are also in that group.
But there is talk of the club wanting to ‘invest heavily in a striker’ next year, ‘with the hope that both Harry Kane and Erling Haaland are still on the market’.
It’s almost as if they have forgotten Tammy Abraham exists.
HAA HAA HAA
The Haaland interest does seem genuine, which is not surprising. Any Champions League club with substantial money can and will fool themselves into thinking the world’s best young striker is attainable. But Manchester United genuinely think they have a particular advantage.
Chelsea could scupper any plans by throwing £130m in the general direction of Borussia Dortmund but once his release clause drops to less than half that next summer, Manchester United think they will be in pole position to move.
The reason is simple: Solskjaer. And more specifically, his new contract. The certainty that seems to bring with regards to the managerial situation at Old Trafford has not gone unnoticed by Haaland.
According to the Sun on Sunday, he was reluctant to join Manchester United in January 2020 because Solskjaer was not sure to be in charge beyond that summer. He and Haaland are close from their time together at Molde and the player did not want to risk him being sacked soon after he joined.
But now Solskjaer is more secure in the dugout, ‘United top brass’ believe they will be ‘favourites to sign Haaland next summer’.
They have clearly read this piece.