Manchester United have stepped up interest in Atletico Madrid player Saul Niguez and want to make him Jose Mourinho's first major signing at the club. The Portuguese manager is set to be sworn in to replace Louis van Gaal by the end of this week and the former Chelsea man has already prepared plans to revamp the squad before the start of the Premier League season.
The Daily Mail reports that Saul has signed a new contract with Atletico, which has taken his release clause to £54m ($80m), but Mourinho is willing to stump up the cash to land this versatile midfielder. Saul can play in the centre of the park or out wide and has an eye for goal as was displayed with his astute finish against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League.
Saul has been a regular member of the Atletico squad over the past two seasons and his good form had earned him a place in the Spain national squad for a friendly against Costa Rica in 2015. He has made 47 appearances for the Spain youth teams and is likely to play a part in the European Championships in France which commences in June, having being included by Vincente del Bosque in the 23-man squad.
United are also keeping a close eye on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and are set to sign him on a free when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires on June 30. Mourinho wants to add more strength up front, with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema also an option being mooted to arrive at Old Trafford.
Mourinho also has designs on raiding his former club Chelsea for Nemanja Matic, while Everton defender John Stones is another player who is doing the rounds in a bid to bolster their defence. Meanwhile, David de Gea is still a transfer target for Real Madrid, who have been alerted of his release clause, which is set to expire.