for talks today

Liverpool have looked the most likely to sign Saul for much of the summer transfer window, but it seems that Man Utd have moved ahead of their Premier League rivals

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Manchester United have reportedly moved into pole position in the race to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. The Spanish international has been a target of Liverpool’s for some time, but the Red Devils are now providing stern competition.

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Saul will be allowed to leave the Wanda Metropolitano this summer by Atletico after they signed Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese

The Spanish champions are attempting to raise funds having been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, they are willing to allow Saul to depart, with the 26-year-old understood to be ready for a new challenge.

It has appeared for much of the summer that the new challenge would come with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Having seen Georginio Wijnaldum join Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer at the end of last season, the Reds have been left with a major hole to fill in midfield.

Wijnaldum was an ever-present for the Merseyside team last term, even being named captain by Klopp for much of the campaign.

But the Liverpool hierarchy were unable to meet his demands when in negotiations for a new contract, leaving Klopp with a gap in his squad.

The German had hoped that that gap would be filled by Saul, who made 33 appearances as Atletico won La Liga for the first time in seven years.

But those hopes have suffered a huge blow, with The Mirror reporting that it is instead United who are in the “box seat” in the pursuit of the Atletico star.

It is also stated that Saul’s representatives are set to fly into the UK to begin negotiations over a move for their client.

With Liverpool still keen on the 26-year-old despite United’s interest, offers from both clubs will be sought.

It is expected that any deal will be done quickly, with the report stating that Saul is hoping to have his future decided this week.

That is because the midfielder has “no desire” for his future to still be undecided by the time the new campaign gets underway in England and Spain in the middle of August.

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Saul has emerged as one of the top targets for both clubs in part because they will be able to pay a fraction of the normal price for him.

His release clause at Atletico is thought to be in the region of £125million, but with that an impossible figure to raise in the midst of a pandemic, the asking price is set to be slashed.

Atletico are thought to be ready to accept a bid in the region of £35m to £40m, a price that is easily achievable by both United and Liverpool

The Red Devils are hoping that Saul can become the final piece in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad puzzle as he searches for a new defensive midfielder.