The Spanish U21 midfielder is currently gaining valuable experience the hard way – as Rayo Vallecano currently lie deep in the relegation zone with a goal difference of -30.
The 19-year-old has been ever present for the strugglers, making 19 La Liga starts. Niguez has operated as both a central defender and a defensive midfielder – and Liverpool will almost certainly be looking at him as a short-term Lucas Leiva replacement.
During his 19 La Liga games, Niguez has made a total of 54 interceptions and 75 clearances – more than any of his fellow team-mates.
However, his experience against his parent club under the watchful eyes of the Liverpool scouts was one to forget – as the player scored an own goal, got booked and was constantly pulled out of position by Atletico Madrid’s terrific movement.
It is reported by the English press that Saul’s father Jose Antonio has already visited Liverpool and spoken with the club over a possible transfer.
Niguez has a reported release clause of £20m - however both parties hold hopes that a figure of £8m is deemed sufficient to strike a deal.
It’s difficult to understand reasons why Diego Simeone would sanction the transfer – and his post-match comments suggested that he may still see a future in Madrid for the player, saying:
“He needed to play. He needed to feel what he is feeling in this moment and it will work well for his future”
Atletico Madrid’s current squad isn’t the biggest – and in the defensive midfield positions they only have Tiago, Gabi and Mario Suarez who are naturals in that position.
As Tiago and Gabi are both into their thirties, the idea of selling Saul Niguez doesn’t make much sense - unless Liverpool were willing to offer the release clause. However, after last night’s performance, Brendan Rodgers may end up looking elsewhere.
image: © banoootah_qtr