Saul Niguez earned recognition around Europe when he scored a scintillating goal against Bayern Munich in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League semi-final tie.
The goal catapulted him into the public eye and it didn’t take long for big clubs to realise the 21-year-old’s potential. Manchester United and Barcelona are reportedly interested in his signature.
And now Tottenham have thrown their hat into the ring. Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly keen to make Saul his highest-paid player as he looks to improve on this season’s efforts.
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That is according to Madrid-based sports paper AS (per the Mirror), who claim Spurs are prepared to offer the player a five-year, £6 million deal after tax.
That works out at just under £200,000-a-week. A truly eye-watering figure, but a clear sign that Pochettino knows his team is close to being capable of winning the Premier League.
The Jorge Mendes client currently has a release clause of £36 million, meaning Atleti must act quick if they are to keep hold of their starlet.
But even a lucrative contract extension might not be enough to prevent Saul from exiting the Vicente Calderon. According to Spanish daily Sport, Barcelona have a first-option clause to sign the midfielder.
This means that the Champions League finalists must inform Barca if they receive an offer from another club for Saul. And according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Tottenham aren’t the only team lining up a bid.
“Saul has a buy-out clause of 45m euros,” Balague said in a Q&A with Sky Sports. “There is a clause since the David Villa transfer to Barcelona, a clause that says Barcelona can equal any offer and can take him.
"Barcelona are interested, and so are Manchester United. He belongs 40 per cent to Jorge Mendes, and we’ll have to see. The last renewal offer from the club has been rejected by Saul, but the club will continue to negotiate."
So, Madrid certainly have a battle on their hands to keep Saul at the club. But they remain optimistic that the Spaniard won’t be departing anytime soon.
“Saul has a contract with us," said Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, per the Mirror.
"He's a player from our academy and is Atletico through and through. From what I know, and from what he himself has told me, he wants to stay with us."
Regardless of whether Saul signs or not, there are plenty of reasons for Tottenham fans to be optimistic. Victory against Newcastle on Sunday will see them finish second in the league and above north London rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1995.