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BARCELONA

Barcelona target Saúl: willing to pay Atlético 110 million euros

As the Catalan giants look to strengthen their team for the future, another huge transfer could be in the pipeline, although they will face competition.

FC Barcelona want Saúl Ñíguez. That's the simple message coming out of the Catalan club who have a clear focus on the need to bring in reinforcements. The Atlético Madrid star is seen as one of the new 'galácticos' that will strive to dominate European football once again.

Barça call Saúl

After completing the signing of the highly rated Dutchman Frenkie De Jong a few weeks ago for 86 million euros (75 million fixed plus 11 in add-ons), Barcelona have progressed their progress to strengthen their midfield with the arrival of the rojiblanco player. They are willing to offer Atlético 110 million euros for the Spaniard, wich would make him the most expensive Spanish footballer in history.

Saúl has been in the blaugrana targets for some time. In 2017 his transfer to the Camp Nou was close to materialising, before Atleti managed to convince him to extend his contract until 2026. At that time, his release clause was increased from 80 million to the current level of 150 million. As eye-watering as that figure may have seemed in the past, recent developments in football transfers make it seem much more plausible.

Saúl and Godin train ahead of the weekend fixture.

Saúl and Godin train ahead of the weekend fixture.

The potential arrival of Saúl to the Barcelona midfield seems to indicate a farewelll to Ivan Rakitic, whose future is looking more and more likely to lie at Inter Milan, based on reports from Gazzetta dello Sport. The money raised from the sale of the Croatian would finance part of the transfer of Saúl.

Chelsea also keen on Saúl

There is an awareness at Barça that some of Europe's other big clubs are interested in the 23-year old, and one such competitor for his signature is Chelsea. Recent news about FIFA sanctions placing a transfer ban on the Premier League club could prove pivitol, with Atlético more likely to sell to a side that were not a domestic rival, and that The Blues were reportedly willing to hand over the full amount of the release clause.

Could Messi be lining up with Saúl next season?

From the player's perspective, the intention is to remain at the capital club, although Saúl has also made it clear that he needs to feel his salary is commensurate of his value. He and Diego Costa have been vocal about comparative wages ever since Antoine Griezmann was given an increase. In the event that Atlético do reach an agreement to take the huge transfer fee for him, his preferred option would be to contiue plying his trade in LaLiga, making the reigning Spanish champions his first choice.