Old Trafford move? Manchester United long-term target joins Gareth Bale on the books

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is Manchester United’s long term transfer target has signed for Stellar Group the agency of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.

Atletico Madrid midfielder and Spain international  Saul Niguez has signed for the Stellar Group

The moves comes amid suggestions in Spain that, despite signing a nine-year contract two years ago, the 24-year-old could look to move in the summer. The Spain midfielder has been a long-term target for Manchester United who first watched him as a 19-year-old out on loan at Rayo Vallecano.

He signed his long-term contract two years ago when still represented by Gestifute. That will see him stay at Atletico until 2026 if he sees it out. But his buy-out clause of €150m is understood to be negotiable and therefore not beyond the reach of Europe’s top clubs. United’s interest has persisted beyond that apparent long-term commitment to the team coached by Diego Simeone.

The Stellar Group was the sports agency behind Gareth Bale's 2013 transfer to Real Madrid

And if an offer of around the £90m mark were lodged the club would consider it. The player might have expected to become the central figure around which Atletico Madrid built their team this season. But he has instead been used in various positions to plug gaps left by Atlético’s injury crisis while Rodri and Thomas Partey are preferred in central midfield.

Saul almost moved to England when he was a teenager, telling Sportsmail in an interview in 2017: ‘Fulham wanted me when I was 16. They were in the Premier League at the time with Mark Hughes and I was close to going. I could go from the Atletico B team to the Premier League. I felt ready to make that jump. Thank God I never went and that I am where I am today.’

Saul is a long-term target for Manchester United and the midfielder has a €150m buyout clause

Stellar Group’s acquisition of Saul will see him join a host of England internationals including Jesse Lingard, Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier. Stellar Group were responsible for the biggest Premier League to La Liga transfer in history, when they took Bale to Real Madrid for 100m euros in 2013. They also opened a Munich office last year and Forbes named them the eighth most valuable sports agency in the world.

Bale and Saul  in action during this month's Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium