Saul Niguez, Atletico Madrid Agree to 5-Year Contract Extension

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 06:  Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring their opening goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and SD Eibar at Estadio Vicente Calderon on May 6, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid have confirmed star midfielder Saul Niguez has agreed to a new five-year contract extension at the club.

The news broke on Saturday when the La Liga side released a statement. The club also posted the following: 

"I will work my full potential on the field as always to pay back the trust that the club is giving to me," a section of Saul's statement read. "I'd like to thank all my teammates and the coaching staff for their help day by day so that I can be the player I am today."

The extension, which could see the player stay with the Madrid outfit until 2026, will end immediate speculation about the 22-year-old's future. As Jack Austin of The Independent noted, both Manchester United and Barcelona had been tipped as possible suitors.

Under manager Diego Simeone, Saul has blossomed into one of the most effective central-midfield players in European football.

Going forward, the midfielder has made many key contributions, as these numbers from OptaJose show:

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What's all the more impressive about these goals is the Atletico man frequently saves them for the biggest matches.

Yet his game isn't all about clattering forward. Saul has been utilised in so many different positions for Atletico down the years because he's such a well-rounded footballer.

Saul has made massive strides working alongside Simeone.
Saul has made massive strides working alongside Simeone.VI-Images/Getty Images

The youngster is tremendous in the air and hard in the tackle. When the situation demands, he can also slow the pace of a game down with his smart passing. It's rare to come across a player who is so multifaceted at the highest level.

As Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe noted, the latest contract is a huge show of faith from Atletico Madrid:

It's faith that is understandable, especially after Saul's outstanding performances for Spain in the recent UEFA European Under-21 Championship. He was a driving force in the middle of the park and netted five goals, making him the tournament's top scorer as La Roja finished as runners-up.

Given Atletico are unable to sign players this summer due to a transfer ban, it's imperative they keep hold of all their key men. After Antoine Griezmann confirmed he is going to stick around amid interest from Manchester United, Saul's extension is another massive boost for Simeone's side.