MANCHESTER UNITED have been handed a huge transfer boost in their pursuit of Saul Niguez after its been revealed that Atletico Madrid may be forced to sell the Spain star this summer.
The Red Devils are currently in the process of identifying midfielders that could replace Paul Pogba should the wantaway star leave Old Trafford.
Sporting captain Bruno Fernandes was thought to be at the top of their wishlist but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are yet to agree a fee for him.
SunSport revealed United then turned to Saul but a stumbling block on any transfer would be buying out the nine-year contract he signed in 2017.
Atletico were forced to let Rodri join Manchester City in a club-record £63million move earlier this week after they triggered his release clause.
Although the La Liga giants would loathe to lose another of their starting midfielders, Saul’s unique contract means the Spanish club don’t actually own a portion of their own player.
BETTER CALL SAUL
According to Football Leaks discoveries, Quality Sports Investments – headed up by super agent Jorge Mendes and former United chief executive Peter Kenyon – paid over £1m for 40% of his transfer rights when the Spaniard was just 16.
The report states that Los Rojiblancos are obliged to inform the Irish-based company about any offer for Saul, including who it came from.
IF Quality Football want the transfer but the 24-year-old doesn’t, then their 40% stake is returned to Atletico who must then compensate them for what they would have made from the deal.
The Spanish international is tied down at the Wanda Metropolitano until 2026 but he does have a £135m release clause.
However, under Saul’s contract, Atletico would only be entitled to £81m of that and would be forced to shell out the extra £54m just to keep him.
This could leave the club’s hands tied if United submit a substantial offer this summer after they spent £113m to sign 19-year-old Joao Felix.
Los Colchoneros also plundered £35m on Marcos Llorente from rivals Real and have been ordered to pay Chelsea £50m to sign Alvaro Morata.