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AS: Saúl wants to leave Atlético

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And it’s claimed the academy graduate has an offer in hand.

Getafe v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Call the timing “suspicious” given the report emerged following Atlético Madrid’s 0-0 draw at Getafe on Saturday night, but AS have dropped a bombshell — the Madrid daily claims that Saúl Ñíguez wants to leave Atlético and join Bayern Munich.

AS’ Manu Sainz states that Saúl has an offer from the reigning European champions and has grown frustrated at lagging renewal talks with Atlético. The longtime colchonero is on a contract to 2026, but his representation hasn’t been able to strike a deal that would boost his salary — particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-GETAFE-ATLETICO Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Even more frustrating to Saúl, the story goes, is that Marcos Llorente’s emergence as one of LaLiga’s stars and Thomas Lemar’s transformation into a key player has rendered him inessential. Saúl began Saturday night’s game at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in the starting 11, but he was removed at halftime after an ineffective 45 minutes — the 26-year-old has made just 14 starts in LaLiga this season and has come off the bench eight times.

The article goes on to state that Atlético would be willing to negotiate on the prohibitive €150 million release clause attached to the contract Saúl signed in 2017. Sainz says that the club would accept between €35 million and €50 million for the versatile midfielder.

AS is claiming an “exclusive” on this one, and Saúl’s alleged desire to leave — for Bayern and the Bundesliga, no less — hasn’t been reported or implied anywhere else. Still, there’s no doubt that the club’s fourth captain has endured a challenging season after several years as an automatic selection, especially following a campaign in which he set a new personal best with six league goals. We’ll see what happens.