Saul Niguez has decided to shut down any possibilities of him leaving Atletico Madrid this summer.
The Spain U-21 International has been quite well known within the La Liga fraternity, and has recently been brought on the big stage with his tremendous performance for Spain in the U-21 European Championship. His recent hat-trick against Italy in the semifinals of the same tournament ignited several dormant possibilities of him leaving Vicente Calderon.
While several clubs were keeping an eye on the 22-year-old, it was expected that Barcelona would put a bid for his services if they are unable to sign Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain, according to El Mundo Deportivo. Manchester United and PSG were also understood to have been strong contenders for the player, despite Barcelona’s attempts to sign him.
However, despite all the speculation, the midfielder came to the media to clear the air around his future, and told Spanish news outlet AS: “I have no intention of moving. I’m where I want to be and things are going to remain the same. They [Atletico] have put their trust in me since I was young, and I want to repay that confidence.”
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone had indeed given the player an early chance, providing him his debut at the age of 17. While he started in his debut game only 13 months later in April 2013, he has slowly built a place for himself among the growing giants that are Atletico Madrid.
Atletico Madrid’s president Enrique Cerezo reaffirmed his belief in the player, by stating (Goal.com): “Saul is a very good player and he has a long-term contract at Atletico. Are you going to ask me about him every summer? We’ll put up with it. I don’t think he has any agreements with other clubs or anything like that. Saul is at Atleti, and he won’t be going anywhere.”
After carving a place for himself in the team, he only became a regular two seasons ago in 2015-16, wherein he played 45 games. His consistent performances earned him a new 5-year contract at the club, starting May 2016. The past season has been no less active for him, as he played 51 games in all competitions, scoring 9 goals and 3 assists.
Within the 3 games he has started in the ongoing European Championship, he has scored 5 goals, including a hat-trick. With an exceptional display of composure, the manager of the national U-21 side, Albert Celades, had only good things to say about him.
He told Marca: “He is doing a very good job. Besides his football qualities that we all know, the hunger that he has is tremendous and it’s a gift for us to have players like him.”
Written by Srivats Venkateswaran
Sports writer with a long experience of writing in football.Was football team head at EssentiallySports. Still deeply misses Sir Alex and Berbatov at United. An introvert at heart with a poetic hand. Engineer by choice, writer by passion.