Barcelona are looking to bolster their midfield this summer, and have identified Saul Niguez as a potential target. The Spanish midfielder is currently on a season-long loan at Chelsea from Atletico Madrid.

The Catalan club are not short of midfielders with Pedri, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets. But the latter, who is the captain of the club, is in the twilight of his career and Xavi is keen to bring in a back up in the summer. Barcelona did try to sign the Spain international last summer, but were unable to complete the deal.

Niguez left Atletico this summer on a season-long loan to Chelsea, but has failed to settle in at the Premier League club. He has made just 17 appearances in all competitions and does not seem to be part of Thomas Tuchel's long-term plans going forward.

According to Sport, Xavi remains an admirer and is still keen to sign him if he becomes available. The Spaniard's name was again mentioned during the January transfer window, but Barcelona chose to strengthen their forward line instead, which is paying dividends in the second half of the season.

Saul Niguez
Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez (C) celebrates scoring an early goal against Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP

Niguez is expected to return to Atletico once his loan deal ends with Chelsea, and it is unclear if he is in manager Diego Simeone's plans for next season. The 27-year-old is contracted to the Madrid club until the summer of 2026, which gives the La Liga club the upper hand when it comes to negotiating his transfer.

However, Atletico have Antoine Griezmann on loan from Barcelona and are obligated to make the deal permanent in the summer. The reigning La Liga champions are expected to fork out around €40 million to sign the Frenchman, and could use Niguez to negotiate a player swap - something that was discussed last summer.

Niguez is open to moving to the Camp Nou, and Barcelona are keen to sign him. The Spaniard will not only provide cover in midfield, but he can also operate as a left back or as a left sided midfielder. Xavi is putting his stamp on the first-team squad, having signed two wide forwards and a central striker in January.

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday. JOSE JORDAN/AFP