Arsenal were apparently looking to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez last January, and were close to agreeing a deal for the Spaniard, according to respected journalist Kike Marin.
Niguez was out of favour and struggling for game time at the start of the season, but an injury to Tiago Mendes shortly before the transfer window opened forced Atletico to keep hold of him. He’s since been getting a lot more game time, and has been really impressive for an Atletico side that have once again been making waves.
— Kike Marin** (@Kike_Marin_) December 17, 2015
It’s unclear how much we would have been forced to pay for the 21-year-old back in January, but it does seem like we’ve missed our opportunity now. He apparently has a €45m buyout clause inserted into his contract (via IBT), which is already likely to put Arsene Wenger off. On top of that, Barcelona appear to have first refusal if any offer is made (via The Sun), so it seems unlikely we’ll be able to land him.
Not only are Atletico unlikely to want to sell, if they do decide to cash in we’d have to pay a huge sum and may miss out on him even if we match the release clause; things aren’t looking good.
He does look like a fantastic young player so it’s a real shame that we missed out on him, but it doesn’t seem like it was ever really in our hands. The injury to Tiago was unfortunate timing, and at least this news suggests Wenger was looking to do business this past January.
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Niguez’s goal against Bayern Munich was absolutely phenomenal, but unfortunately that impressive performance, as well as the many he’s put in this season, will have seen his stock rise exponentially.