Bayern Munich could complete the €80m signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez this summer, with Atletico tipped to reinvest around half of the windfall in signing Udinese captain Rodrigo De Paul as a replacement in the centre of the pitch.
Despite signing a mammoth nine-year contract in 2017 that still has another five years left to run, Saul’s future at Atletico has become uncertain in recent weeks.
Saul is thought to have first considered his future with Atletico in 2019 and it was reported in May that a sudden lack of starts throughout the title winning 2020/21 La Liga title winning campaign had convinced the 26-year-old that the time has come to leave.
The Spaniard has been considered one of Europe’s top midfielders since his senior breakthrough in 2015 and has previously been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.
But Bayern have emerged as most likely to agree a transfer, with Radio Marca claiming that an agreement over an €80m transfer fee has been reached.
Bayern typically only spend big money on players in their early 20s – Leroy Sane, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman are prime examples in recent years. That would put Saul towards the older end of their usual target age bracket, but he is still approaching what ought to be his peak. It is also worth noting that Bayern paid a reported €38m for a 27-year-old Mats Hummels in 2016, then one of the highest fees in the club’s history.
Atletico would be expected to replace Saul with De Paul. The Argentine has been with Udinese since 2016, having first moved to Europe from boyhood side Racing Club to join Valencia in 2014. He has previously been linked with both Liverpool and Leeds.