Currently sat at Atlético Madrid with a release clause of around £18m, Saul Niguez appears to be up for grabs.
The intelligent holding midfielder, who can also play centre-half or in a box-to-box role, has a contract running until 2020 but Atlético are keen to renegotiate with him as his release clause is a little on the low side.
One problem: his agent is Jorge Mendes. That means demands are high, and Atlético may eventually be better off selling the midfielder. Arsenal were reportedly close to signing him back in the winter, but an injury suffered by Tiago meant he stayed in Madrid.
Diego Simeone’s side have signed Augusto Fernandez and Matias Kranevitter, so will Saul still be needed next season? Probably, yes. Tiago and Gabi are both ageing, Fernandez isn’t particularly great and Kranevitter still needs some time to adapt. As a result, Saul is still pretty crucial.
The alleged winter transfer seems a little off, as Arsenal still had the entire window to sign a player but didn’t spend close to the £18m Saul would cost when they brought in Mohamed Elneny. Moreover, Jorge Mendes is his agent and it simply seems unlikely Arsène Wenger would be willing to deal with him, as we’ve seen in the past.
I think we can safely assume Mendes is using Arsenal to strengthen his position in talks with Atlético, but time will tell.