Manchester United have moved ahead of Liverpool in the queue to sign Saul Niguez, should his move to Barcelona break down.
Saul is a one-club man, coming through the Atletico youth setup and making 337 appearances for Los Rojiblancos so far. However, towards the tail end of last season he fell down the pecking order under Diego Simeone and both parties are now open to his departure.
The all-action midfielder has been most strongly linked with a move to Barcelona. That deal would see Antoine Griezmann - who only arrived at Camp Nou from Atleti two seasons ago - move in the opposite direction.
As reported by Francesc Aguilar, though, negotiations are currently stranded. This has led Saul’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, to start exploring alternative possibilities. These include a possible move to the Premier League.
Liverpool are long term admirers of Saul and have tabled a bid. The Reds are currently on the lookout for a replacement for the influential Georginio Wijnaldum, who recently joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
Saul would fit the bill nicely, but their offer has now been gazumped by United. The Red Devils could do with some midfield reinforcements themselves, as it is widely considered their weakest area.
Of the trio of clubs interested in Saul, Barcelona are in need of the deal most - but not for entirely on-field reasons. The Blaugrana are hopeful of trimming their bloated wage bill by offloading Griezmann to his former club.
Barça need to reduce their expenditure significantly before the start of the season. It currently infringes La Liga regulations, which is preventing them from registering any new players. This means Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay are yet to officially be added to their squad.