Manchester United plans to sign Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid this summer, but has set a maximum they are willing to pay, according to Spanish outlet AS.
The 25-year-old has signed a massive 9-year contract in Madrid for three years and has a release clause of 150 million euros.
The Red Devils have been connected to the midfielder since December, and it has recently been reported that they would be willing to increase the massive buyout fee if they had to replace Paul Pogba.
However, AS now claims that United values the player at just £ 80m (£ 73m) – just over half of this release clause.
The outlet claims that "sources close to the English outfit say Manchester United would never match or even approach this number, as this is an amount they consider disproportionate."
Under normal circumstances, it's hard to understand why Atleti is leaving her team's linchpin for such a small amount, but AS suggests that the rojiblancos may need to do a financial restructuring due to the current economic climate.
& # 39; Saul has a contract with the Madrid club until June 2026 and is in talks with Atletico to improve his contract. It's not the best time for it, and it seems complicated that Atletico bosses would sign bigger contracts during this general football crisis. "
The Spanish international has just signed a € 230,500 weekly contract – around £ 211,000. United can hope to unsettle Saul with a shock salary that the Spanish club cannot reach due to its current financial situation.
Another reason why United might think they can make a deal well below the release clause is Saul's complicated ownership structure, in which the third-party company Quality Football, led by super agent Jorge Mendes and United's former CEO, Peter Kenyon, has a stake in 40% of the player has a contract.
As reported here on Monday, Saul's terms and conditions stipulate that Quality Football must pay 40% of all offers made for Niguez, even if they decline.
If Mendes and Kenyon wanted to make money, United's rejection of this £ 73 million offer would mean Atletico would have to pay the duo £ 29 million to buy them from Niguez’s contract. This is a fact that United negotiators will be aware of and could use to exert pressure in negotiations.
Any deal for Diego Simeone's prize money would certainly be very complicated, but the rewards would be great. As commented by AS: "At United the general opinion is that Saul is at the height of his sporting career, he is the ideal age and would fit perfectly into English football."
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