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Al Nassr pursuing Saúl; player not fully convinced over Saudi move

Is Saúl heading to the Middle East?

Atletico de Madrid v CA Osasuna - LaLiga Santander Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The wide net that the Saudi Pro League has cast over European football has reached Madrid, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr have reportedly made Saúl Ñíguez a top target this summer.

Manu Sainz of Diario AS was the first to report that Al Nassr have sent an offer to Saúl, who — aside from one season at Chelsea — has spent his entire professional career in Spain, contracted to Atlético Madrid.

Atlético have been seeking a way out for Saúl — who once attracted attention from Manchester United — and have been unable to find any suitors willing to take on the bulk (or all) of his €7 million net salary. But Saudi Arabia — like the Chinese league before it — could bail Atleti out of its expensive problem.

Saúl is still owed over €20 million across the final three years of the nine-year contract he signed in 2017. According to Cadena SER, Al Nassr’s offer is enticing enough to where Saúl is considering it — although he is also waiting to see if other European proposals come his way.

Atlético will gladly negotiate with Al Nassr if and when Saúl accepts the offer from the Saudi Pro League runners-up. Sainz says Atleti will not “put up many obstacles” if the 28-year-old agrees to a Middle East move with his family.

Saúl last season showed glimpses of the player he used to be, but he made only 11 starts in LaLiga and simply did not offer enough to become a fixture in Diego Simeone’s team again. The player too might find it difficult to continue on the continent due to his contract, as even Premier League clubs can’t offer the mouth-watering Saudi salaries.