Chelsea have reportedly usurped Manchester United in pursuit of Saul Niguez, who appears set to leave Atletico Madrid this summer.

According to a report by Daily Telegraph, Chelsea have stepped up their efforts to sign Saul Niguez before the summer transfer window slams shut. The Blues have held talks with Atletico Madrid over a potential loan deal with an option to buy the Spanish midfielder, who is also a target for Manchester United.

Saul Niguez is coming off a forgettable 2020/21 campaign, which resulted in his stock falling a fair bit, both at club level and international level. However, his reputation among prospective suitors has not been hit all that much, with a host of big-name clubs being hot on his trails at one point or another this summer.

To date, Saul has featured 339 times for Atletico Madrid, chipping in with 43 goals and 20 assists along the way. However, his time at the Wanda Metropolitano appears to be reaching its end, with recent reports suggesting that the 26-year-old wishes to call it quits at the Spanish club. And as things stand, Chelsea and Manchester United are keen on signing him.

Chelsea were first linked with Saul a couple of months ago before they turned their attention towards completing the signing of priority target Romelu Lukaku. With Lukaku now onboard at Stamford Bridge and Jules Kounde edging closer to making the switch from Sevilla, Chelsea have now switched their focus back to Saul.

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The interest in Saul makes sense as Thomas Tuchel has just three reliable midfielders at his disposal in N’Golo Kante, Jorignho and Mateo Kovacic. As a result, the Spaniard is a viable target for Chelsea, who are now lining up a loan move for him. Manchester United, on the other hand, are in need of a midfielder as well.

With Paul Pogba’s future the subject of intense speculation, Manchester United need to be on the lookout for a possible replacement. However, with Nemanja Matic approaching the final phase of his career and Donny van de Beek not being trusted all that much, Manchester United could do with a midfielder like Saul.

However, Chelsea have now taken the lead in the race to sign the 26-year-old, with talks underway over a possible loan move. The Blues are hoping to clinch a deal similar to the initial move for Mateo Kovacic, who joined temporarily from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018 before making his switch permanent a year later. As for Manchester United, it remains to be seen if they can topple Chelsea in Saul’s pursuit with a late move.

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