Michael Edwards could be playing 4D chess with £40m target

Michael Edwards could be playing 4D chess with his approach for Saul Niguez and he could use former star Luis Alberto to his advantage.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with Saul in recent weeks and the latest comes from Mike McGrath.

The Telegraph reporter claims that Barcelona are now in negotiations with Atletico Madrid over a swap deal for Saul and Antoine Griezmann.

He reports: “Griezmann to the Premier League looks unlikely but negotiations have started with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid over a deal involving Saul Niguez going in opposite direction.”

Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid during the warm-up before the La Liga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and C.A. Osasuna at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 16, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.
Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid during the warm-up before the La Liga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and C.A. Osasuna at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 16, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Catalonians are in massive trouble financially and in order to sign Lionel Messi to a new contract, they need to reduce their wage bill and are considering offloading Griezmann to do so.

The Frenchman reportedly earns a mind-boggling £594,000 per week and his departure would allow Barca to re-sign Messi.

After reaching out to a contact well-versed with the goings-on in La Liga, Anfield Central has learned the story has legs and that talks have been held between Barcelona and Atleti.

There is the potential for a swap but it’s remains to be seen if Griezmann is willing to take a huge pay cut to return to Madrid.

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - MAY 22: Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates winning the La Liga Santander title after victory the La Liga Santander match between Real Valladolid CF and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on May 22, 2021 in Valladolid, Spain.
VALLADOLID, SPAIN – MAY 22: Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates winning the La Liga Santander title after victory the La Liga Santander match between Real Valladolid CF and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on May 22, 2021 in Valladolid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

That said, Liverpool are very interested in signing the 26-year-old but are waiting for a few pieces of the puzzle to slide into place.

One such puzzle piece is Xherdan Shaqiri’s exit from the club, with the Switzerland midfielder set to leave this summer.

It’s unclear where yet but Lazio have shown serious interest the last few days and, as per a source close to Anfield Central that is involved with media duties at the club, the Serie A outfit has indicated they would be prepared to pay the £15million the Reds are demanding.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 02: Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland scores their side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Switzerland and Spain at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 02, 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – JULY 02: Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland scores their side’s first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Switzerland and Spain at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 02, 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Lazio Alberto could also play a pivotal role in another Michael Edwards masterclass, with the 30% sell-on clause in the Spaniard’s contract potentially set to be triggered by Atletico Madrid this summer.

With Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Atletico are interested with a price tag of €50m being quoted, the Reds could be set for a €15m windfall this summer.

Combine that with a fee for Shaqiri and Liverpool will have somehow managed to sign Saul for below £20m.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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