Man Utd want Saul Niguez as Pogba replacement

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 12:24 CEST 3 min read
Man Utd want Saul Niguez as Pogba replacement

Man Utd are reportedly interested in bringing Saul Niguez to Old Trafford if, as expected, Paul Pogba leaves the club in January or in the summer, the Sun claims via Todo Fichajes.

Pogba has been in and out of the United team this season, and risked the ire of the Old Trafford faithful earlier in the campaign while on international duty with France, when he revealed that it was a “dream” of his to play for Real Madrid in his career.

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  • Things went quiet for a while, up until last week when his agent Mino Raiola claimed that Pogba’s time at Old Trafford was “over”, with Juventus poised to make a big-money bid to lure their former player back to the Allianz Stadium.

    Raiola has since backtracked and says that a transfer away from United could happen in the summer and not necessarily January, but that hasn’t stopped the Red Devils putting a plan in place to bring in a replacement.

    Near the top of their list is Atletico’s Saul, who has long been the target of admiring glances from Man Utd officials.

    Saul was previously a guaranteed starter under Diego Simeone at the Vicente Calderon and then the Wanda Metropolitano, but injuries and a dip in form in 2020/21 have seem him make just seven starts in the league so far.

    He played the full 90 against Cardassar in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, but in the three previous games prior he came off the bench versus Real Madrid and was brought off around the hour mark against RB Salzburg and Real Valladolid.

    Simeone has preferred Koke, Hector Herrera, and Marcos Llorente at times in the centre of midfield.

    United see Saul as a potential replacement for Pogba when he inevitably leaves.

    Where would Saul fit in at United?

    A tricky question considering Saul has played most of his career in a flat 4-4-2 formation under Simeone’s rigid set-up at Atletico.

    He can play in the middle of midfield or on the right of a midfield four, but wouldn’t be able to feature on the wing in United’s current 4-2-3-1 system, with Solskjaer preferring quick wingers in that formation.

    A position in the middle is a possibility, but he certainly won’t be ousting Bruno Fernandes from the starting XI, so that leaves the two deeper lying central midfield positions.

    Those positions are currently contested by Fred, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, and, of course, Pogba.

    New signing Van de Beek has barely had a look in since signing from Ajax in the summer, which may present a source of worry for Saul should any potential deal be put on the table.