Diego Simeone has revealed discussions between himself and Liverpool-linked midfielder Saul Niguez, with the Atletico Madrid star apparently finding issues with his current role at the club.
The 26-year-old was speculated to be close to a switch to Barcelona in a player swap deal that would have reportedly seen former Los Colchoneros man Antoine Griezmann go the other way.
“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,” the manager told AS (via the Daily Mail).
“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.”
As far as the Spanish international’s future goes, there was no move on Simeone’s part to dispel the links to other clubs, with the 51-year-old very much leaving things open.
“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.”
As far as a potential Gini Wijnaldum replacement goes, there are few other players that come to mind who could potentially immediately slot into the side with little difficulty.
While it seems we’re still waiting to amass the necessary funds via player sales to get moving again in the transfer market, it’s promising that a future outside of the Spanish capital remains possible for Saul.
With Manchester United continuing to draw links of their own to the Spaniard, however, we may very well wish to speed up our own efforts to boost our transfer kitty before our rivals act ahead of us.