Report shares how Lucas Leiva stopped Liverpool signing £80m Atletico star

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks dejected during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on December 2, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are facing Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tonight - but Saul Niguez will be playing for the home side.

Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Atletico Madrid v Eibar at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on September 1, 2019 in Madrid Spain

Liverpool missed out on the chance to sign Saul Niguez in a loan-to-buy deal six years ago, according to Goal, with Anfield hero Lucas Leiva causing an Atletico Madrid star to miss out on a move to Merseyside.

One of the most intriguing Champions League clashes in recent memory will take place at the cavernous Wanda Metropolitano tonight as Diego Simeone and Jurgen Klopp go head-to-head for the very first time.

This Atletico side might not be the same battle-scarred battalion of blood-thirsty foot soldiers who took European football by storm between 2013 and 2017 but there is still plenty of star quality wearing red and white stripes.

 

In Saul, the all-action Spain international, the Rojiblancos can call upon one of the game’s most complete midfielders. According to The Mail, a man who rose through the ranks to become one of the first names on Simeone’s team-mate is valued at £80 million these days.

Back in the summer of 2014, however, Saul was a budding youngster coming back off an impressive loan spell at Rayo Vallecano, where he spent much of the season in a ball-playing centre-half role.

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Saul Niguez of Rayo Vallecano during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Camp Nou on February 15,...

And, according to Goal, the then-19-year-old was on the verge of joining Liverpool on what would have been an initial loan deal, with an option-to-buy clause included in his contract. The sticking point, however, was on Liverpool’s end.

Brazilian enforcer Lucas was supposed to go in the other direction but, with the long-serving fans’ favourite determined to stay and fight for his place at Anfield, a proposed swap deal failed to materialise.

Six years on, Saul has the ideal opportunity to show Liverpool what they are missing.

Saul Ñiguez attends to photocall of 'Lifestyle Awards 2019' on June 21, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

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