Diego Simeone admits Saul Niguez ‘wants to feel more important’ and is unhappy ‘playing everywhere’ for Atletico Madrid… but boss insists Liverpool and Man United target is still vital for his side
- Saul Niguez’s 13-year spell at Atletico Madrid could be coming to an end soon
- Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool are interested in the midfielder
- Diego Simeone insists Saul is still a vitally important player for Atletico
- But he admitted that the 26-year-old is not happy in his current role for the club
Diego Simeone has insisted that Saul Niguez is still integral to Atletico Madrid but accepted that the midfielder is unhappy at his current role.
The Spain international is a target for Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool this summer having spent more than a decade at Atletico.
Simeone spoke about how Saul, who could leave for £34m, has become disillusioned by his role in the team as a utility player.
Diego Simeone (left) understands that Saul Niguez is unhappy at his utility role
He told AS: ‘Last season he (Saul) spoke with the club, with us about his needs and what he spoke about the option of having a place on the field where he feels more important.
‘And I consider that Saul became Saul by playing everywhere, he or many of those around him see it as something negative.
‘He is very important for Atlético because he can play as a full-back, right wing, midfielder, as a double middle. He gives us a lot of situations to be able to count on him. He is a player who in that version and playing what the coach needs, performs very well.’
The Argentine manager went on: ‘We cannot put aside what is rumored and talked about.
Saul is a target for Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester United and could leave this summer
Simeone says that if Saul leaves, he will do so with the best wishes of the team
‘If he has to go out, a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always. Either to Barcelona or elsewhere.’
Versatility is one of Saul’s strengths but seems to have worked against him in that he wants a specific, defined role and is willing to move away to achieve it.
Barcelona were interested in a swap deal involving a return for Antoine Griezmann but the chances of pulling it off appear slim as the Frenchman would have to take a pay cut.
Liverpool are searching for a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum but require the sale of fringe players before making a move, while United’s interest in Saul is long held.
The 26-year-old is one of the highest earners on the team and they could reduce the wage bill
He was watched regularly by Old Trafford scouts as a teenager and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is monitoring the situation closely.
Saul currently earns £300,000-a-week and Atletico are not averse to removing his huge wage from the books despite his contribution to the team.
His agent confirmed that Liverpool and United have been in contact and the arrival of Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese has shunted him further down the pecking order.
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