ATLETICO MADRID may have to cut a deal with Manchester United for Saul Niguez to escape a financial “crisis” brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
While clubs worldwide stand to lose considerable funds during the pandemic, the Spanish side particularly risk having their budget slashed if LaLiga is cancelled early.
Currently sat in sixth place with 11 games to play, Atletico will likely miss out on Champions League qualification and the riches that it brings if the 2019/20 campaign ends here.
Indeed, even a restart holds no guarantees that Los Rojiblancos can clamber into the top-four when up against Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Getafe and Valencia.
According to AS, via Sport Witness, a financial timebomb is set in Atletico’s accounts could most easily be quashed with player sales.
Chief among their most in-demand assets is Saul.
Manchester City, United and Juventus have all previously been linked with the midfielder, 25, who is thought to have a release clause of £130million.
Should Atletico need a hasty cash injection, it is reported that a sale for just half that amount, £65m, would ease any immediate financial woe.
The Madrid club denied they would negotiate a deal earlier this month and United transfer boss Ed Woodward has also played down talk of big money signings.
Allowing Saul to depart would also be hugely unpopular at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano with the academy product clocking up every single minute of match action this season, bar a LaLiga clash with Granada he was suspended for.
When the transfer market opens, very few – if any – teams will be in a position to conduct the major deals fans have become accustomed to.
However coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously stated that United could “exploit” the unique window with the Red Devils’ reserves extensives compared to other clubs.
Premier League and LaLiga clubs are mapping out a return to action in June but further doubt came when the French government cancelled Ligue 1 earlier this week.