According to the Daily Mail, Liverpool scouts were in attendance during Rayo Vallecano’s 4-2 loss at home to Atletico Madrid three weeks ago, with Atelti’s loanee Saul Niguez playing against his parent club.
The English paper also confirmed that Arsenal and Manchester United had watched the player as they considered making bids, but in reality the premier League duo were more likely to be eyeing up key players Diego Costa and Koke.
A week prior to the La Liga clash, it was reported that Liverpool and Niguez’s father Jose Antonio had held a meeting regarding the possibility of a future deal for his son – yet, despite all the links no concrete offer was ever made during the January transfer window.
Spanish title-challengers Atletico Madrid have since taken the initiative and extended their youngster’s contract until 2018 – a deal which will see Niguez’s reported £8m release clause increased to €24m.
The 19-year-old has been a regular whilst on loan at Rayo Vallecano, and has shown his potential with a number of impressive defensive displays. In 21 La Liga appearances, the defensive midfielder has made 60 tackles, 57 interceptions and 91 clearances – much more than any of Liverpool’s midfielders.
Following the injury to Lucas Leica, Liverpool have been light in that department. Steven Gerrard has tried to fill in, however his performance against Aston Villa last month would have sent a cold shiver down Brendan Rodgers’ spine.
The return of Jordan Henderson has since stabilised the midfield, but it remains a weak area – especially on Liverpool’s travels.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will want to add more quality and depth in the middle of the park, yet if he decides to officially tempt Saul Niguez, only Atletico Madrid’s new €24m asking price will be enough to prise the youngster away.
Do Liverpool need a new defensive midfielder in the summer? Would Saul Niguez be a good signing?
image: © azuaje