ATLÉTICO

Atlético wait for transfer deadline to pass amid Saúl rumours

The transfer window closes at midnight tonight and while Atleti believe that Saúl will stay, Chelsea think he will join them on loan...

Madrid
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Saúl, en el Atlético-Villarreal. En las últimas horas de mercado parece que se quedará en el Atlético y no se irá.
AFP7 vía Europa Press AFP7 vía Europa Press

Since the start of the summer, speculation over Saúl's future has been non-stop. For the first time, there was a real possibility that he migh leave Atlético, where he graduated from the youth teams and is now a key figure and the fourth captain. The transfer window closes tonight at midnight and Atleti face an agonising few hours, hoping that there are no new developments with Saúl while waiting for the clock to strike 12. At the moment, there is nothing concrete. And while Atlético are confident that Saúl will stay, other sources claim that a deal is already in place. If he leaves, Atleti will have to move quickly and have lined up Pablo Sarabia as a replacement if that happens.

Saúl asking price too high

Up until midnight, anything is possible and Saúl is still thinking about moving on. He told the club that he wants to leave yesterday and on Friday, he met up with his agent Joshua Barnett from Stellar Group, the same agency which handles Bale's affairs. Out of all of the possible destinations and clubs who he has been linked with (Manchester United, Liverpool), when Saúl was put on the market, Atleti didn't receive any offers. His buy-out fee, 150 million euros, was way too high in the current market conditions. Atlético would be willing to let him go for a fee closer to 50 million (he is actually valued at 40 million by Transfermarkt) but there are no takers even at that price. Last week, a loan deal was proposed, with Chelsea as the only option, but at the moment, talks remain at a standstill.

European champions Chelsea, who have the midfield positions filled with Kanté, Jorginho and Kovacic, want to add threir own conditions, according to The Telegraph - among them, removing the obligatory purchase clause. They are offering Saúl a one-year loan deal in which they will pay his wages with a voluntary option to buy him at the end of the season.

While Atlético would accept a loan, they would need to find a replacement. But Simeone woukld rather bring in a forward than another midfielder. El Cholo wants Griezmann (Barça, according to RAC1, have asked for João Félix on loan in return) if Saúl leaves. In the next few hours, we will find out.