Manchester United have been linked with Saul Niguez for the past two seasons. The midfield used to be an issue for the Red Devils. However, since the January transfer window, the team has looked good with Bruno Fernandes.
It’s hard to predict if their form is temporary or United have really improved and will be a side that will challenge for the title next season. With Bruno, Fred, Matic, McTominay, all in their top form and Pogba joining them, there’s no need for a midfielder at the Old Trafford. However, Saul Niguez recently put the Red Devils on high alert after posting a tweet that said, “New club. I’ll announce it in three days.”
Saul didn’t stop here. He started following Manchester United and Premier League league’s Instagram accounts along with several United players and legends. This added fuel to the rumours linking the Spaniard to Manchester United, again!
So if these rumours are true and United actually land Saul Niguez this summer, how would United line up with him?
The 25-year-old midfielder has spent his entire youth and professional career playing for Atletico Madrid. He has vast experience of playing in La Liga and the Champions League. He will bring a lot of experience to United’s midfield. Something, even Bruno can’t boast of. We’ve come up with three ways in which Saul would fit into the starting lineup.
Saul as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3/4-2-1-3 formation
Saul is primarily a central midfielder and he can be best utilised in a 3 man midfield. With McTominay and Matic in top form as a number 6 for Solskjaer, Saul can partner them along with Bruno or Pogba. Solskjaer can even tweak this formation into a quick 4-2-1-3 with Bruno pushing ahead as a number 10 and Saul & McTominay/Matic staying behind the midfield. Saul will take up the role for creating chances and then dropping back during counters, a role that he has mastered at Atletico. United would get a box-to-box midfielder in Saul. If needed, the 25-year-old can also slot into the number 6 role. This is how United would line up with Saul in a 3 man midfield:
Saul as a pivot in a 4-2-3-1 formation
This is a formation that would work well with United. United have top players for all the positions in this formation and with this formation, Solskjaer can get the best out of the team. Saul would be a part of the double pivot in the centre alongside McTominay/Fred/Matic. Bruno will take up the role as a number 10. With the other pivot doing the dirty work behind, Saul will be allowed to move forward and help the team, with upfront. Saul has played in a defensive system and his role in the midfield has been to disrupt opponent’s play. He would naturally take up the role of Herrera at United. This is how United would look like with Saul in a double pivot formation:
Saul as a left midfielder or central midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation
Atletico manager Diego Simeone usually likes to deploy a 4-4-2 formation and this is the lineup in which Niguez mainly features. If Solskjaer wants, he can play Saul as a left midfielder in the four-man midfield. He has shown his versatility as an effectively talented left midfielder. Saul is not a player who will contribute many goals, but he will offer stability in the midfield as well as on the left flank. The Spaniard can also feature in the midfield in this lineup if Solskjaer wants to stretch the narrow lineup with wingers as aside midfielders. This is how United would lineup with Saul as a left midfielder: