​Manchester United are increasingly optimistic about their chances of being able to lure Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez to Old Trafford this summer.

Atlético have been working to offer Saúl a pay rise to ensure he remains happy at the club, but they have struggled to reach an agreement because his agents feel as though the midfielder ​deserves more money.

Saul Niguez

That uncertainty is believed to have piqued ​United's interest, and now the ​Daily Star state that the Red Devils are growing increasingly confident that they will be able to strike a £135m deal to sign Saúl.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified the 25-year-old as the ideal replacement for ​Paul Pogba, who has been tipped to seal a £100m move to ​Real Madrid this summer.

​Juventus have also been named as potential suitors for Pogba, with plenty of bizarre reports suggesting they have lodged some crazy ​player-plus-cash bids to try land the Frenchman, but it is thought that United will hold firm at their £100m asking price.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward wants to reinvest that £100m in Saúl, who has a €150m release clause in his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.

United have sent scouts to follow Saúl on a number of occasions this season, including in ​Atlético's triumph over ​Liverpool in the ​Champions League, and the Spaniard appears to have done enough - if the Star's outlandish numbers are to be believed - to convince United to make him their club-record signing.

Such an intense focus on Saúl will likely bring an end to the pursuit of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek - who United believe prefers a move to Real Madrid - but the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes effectively ended that talk anyway.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The belief is that Saúl and Fernandes will be able to form the kind of partnership which could fire United back towards the top of the table, which is why the Red Devils are willing to part with such a huge figure to get the deal done.

United will likely be unable to negotiate a discount on this one, given Saúl still has a whopping six years to run on his contract, but that release clause would be relatively affordable if United can - and do - cash in on Pogba.

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