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Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Target Saul Niguez, Top Rumours

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 01: Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring their second goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2016

Arsenal will battle Manchester United for the services of Atletico Madrid midfield prodigy Saul Niguez, with the 21-year-old's current deal containing a £34.7 million release clause.

FJ Diaz of Spanish daily AS (h/t Will Giles of Metro) claimed that the Premier League giants will compete for Atleti's breakout star, who has shone since a successful loan spell at Rayo Vallecano last year.

The Spain under-21 international is currently tipped to make his bow for the full national side in due course, tempting United and Arsenal to watch the player more closely.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies with Atletico Madrid's midfielder Saul Niguez during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 27, 2016. /
CURTO DE LA TORRE/Getty Images

Saul is contracted to Diego Simeone's team until 2020, according to Diaz, but his father revealed that his son could leave due to the inclusion of a release clause in his current deal. Turkish giants Galatasaray are also said to be tracking the player, but Arsenal and United are "leading the race" to capture him.

The Elche-born talent joined the Rojiblancos' youth team in 2010 and has progressed through the ranks to become one of Simeone's automatic selections. 

The 21-year-old has featured 28 times for Atletico in La Liga and the Champions League this season, according to WhoScored.com.

(L-R) Jeffrey Bruma of PSV, Saul Niguez of Club Atletico de Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, First leg match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid on February 24, 2016 at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.(Photo by
VI-Images/Getty Images

The Daily Mirror claimed Saul has turned down a new deal from his club, and United have scouted the midfielder over a period of a year. The Spaniard has developed a reputation for his defensive attributes but is equally happy positioned further up the field or on the flanks.

Saul is also adding goals to his burgeoning skill set, as highlighted by Opta Jose:

Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently confirmed the interest from United but added that Simeone was not looking to sell in January:

Saul is the type of player Gunners coach Arsene Wenger gravitates towards; he is versed in possession football and can play in a number of roles through the middle of the park.

Arsenal are desperate to find a defensive entity who can run the engine room in midfield and also support Wenger's plethora of attacking individuals.

Here is a video displaying Saul's ability:

If the Gunners lose out to United in their pursuit of Saul, they could turn their interests towards long-term target Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund

According to German newspaper Bild (h/t talkSPORT,) BVB are ready to sell the German international star, with his deal having less than 18 months to run. Gundogan is valued at £23 million and is also wanted by Barcelona and Juventus.

The player has helped Dortmund find their feet in the Bundesliga after a disappointing campaign last year, but his refusal to sign a new deal could see him exit the Westfalenstadion.

Dortmund's midfielder Ilkay Guendogan (C ) and team mates walk onto the pitch prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund, at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on February 6, 2016.  / AFP / ODD ANDERSEN / RE
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

Sport-Express.ru editor Artur Petrosyan also claimed that Real Madrid and Liverpool will move for the highly rated player:

Gundogan has similar qualities to Saul but is vastly more experienced than the young Spaniard.

However, the German has suffered from injury through his career and could potentially spend time on the touchline if his health collapses once again. 

Saul is the player Wenger should target in the summer, and his buyout clause is not unreasonable in the current market.

The Spaniard would add steel and vitality to Arsenal's midfield as he becomes one of Europe's most prized individuals. 

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