Saul may need fresh challenges, admits Atletico manager July 21, 2021 by Jürgen Götze Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has admitted that midfielder Saul Niguez may need a new change to get back to his best. Saul has been an Atleti player since he came through the club’s youth academy and developed into one of Simeone’s most trusted and important players. Due to the versatile nature of his game, the midfielder has played a number of vital roles for the capital side over the years as they’ve reached new heights under Simeone. However, with the cementing of Marcos Llorente and Koke in the middle of the pitch as Simeone’s go-to midfield partnership, Saul’s influence on the team has diminished. As such, the Spaniard has seen his name linked with moves to Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona ahead of this summer’s transfer window. And while Simeone wouldn’t state on the record whether the player had to move on due to the team’s change in circumstances, he did suggest that last season was difficult for Saul and that perhaps something new would be best for the talent. Simeone may be forced to sell Saul if he hopes to make new sigings this summer ‘The last season was more difficult for Saul’ “You know better than anyone what Saul has asked and looked for,” said Simeone in an interview with Marca. “We have known him for eight years. He has shared a lot of time with us. “What empowered him to be what he was is his ability to play in different places, and when his level dropped, the same thing was used against him. “But this is not the case, this does not go against him. “They are (just) moments. After so much time, players need air and after so many years, the last season was more difficult for him.” Whether that means Simeone is preparing for the departure of Saul in the coming weeks or months ahead remains to be seen, but with a long-term contract at the club it seems unlikely that the likes of Man Utd or Liverpool will be able to sign him with spending some significant money.