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United reportedly interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder

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Saúl Ñíguez is said to be open to a move to Old Trafford.

Spain v Italy: Semi Final - 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

Manchester United could be about to make a move for Atlético Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez, according to the Sun’s Warren Haughton. The 22-year-old Spaniard has established himself as one of Europe’s rising stars over the last few seasons, and looks set to be a fixture of the national team for years to come. Matching technical aptitude with tireless industry, Saúl is just about everything United’s midfield is not — at least when Paul Pogba’s not in it. Could he really be on his way to Old Trafford?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look likely. Over the summer Saúl signed a remarkable nine (9) year contract at Atléti until 2026 (twenty-twenty-six), a contract that included a release clause of £134 million (one-hu ... you get the joke). These are large numbers, very large numbers, and flogging Marouane Fellaini to Beşiktaş probably isn’t going to cover the shortfall. If it’s true Ed Woodward wants to move some way to balancing the books, then we probably shouldn’t expect this one to happen imminently.

However, another interesting dimension to Haughton’s report is the suggestion that Diego Simeone would quite like to bring Ander Herrera in the opposite direction. Mourinho is said to be “a big fan of Herrera”, though that’s a claim for which evidence — at least this season — is rather thin on the ground. We don’t expect Mourinho to sell Herrera any time soon — especially not if Fellaini’s off — but it’s certainly more probable than signing Saúl.