Manchester United are growing increasingly confident of landing Saul Niguez in a club record £135m deal.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær has targeted the Spain and Atletico Madrid ace as Paul Pogba's midfield replacement at Old Trafford.
Pogba is expected to join Real Madrid in the next transfer window – provided the Spanish giants are willing to meet United's £100m asking price.
And United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward is willing to use the cash to help fund a move for Niguez that would make him the most expensive signing in their history.
United sent scouts to watch Niguez in action at Anfield earlier this month, when he helped Atletico knock Liverpool out of the Champions League.
Solskjaer was given a glowing report and believes the 25-year-old central midfielder would be a huge success in the Premier League.
United are willing to meet the buy-out clause in Niguez's nine-year deal at Atletico – and make him one of the highest-paid stars in the team.
Niguez has emerged as one of the most complete midfielders in world football following a string of stand-out displays for both Atletico and Spain.
He made his international debut in 2016 and has gone on to win 19 caps, scoring his first goal for his country in a 2-1 win over England at Wembley in 2018.
United are desperate to strengthen their midfield options in the next transfer window and have been tracking Niguez all season.
The English giants have also been keeping tabs on Holland and Ajax star Donny van de Beek, 22, but fear he prefers a move to Real instead of Old Trafford.
Solskjaer reckons a central midfield including Niguez and Bruno Fernandes would help United re-establish themselves as a genuine force in English football again.
United are also leading the race to sign Birmingham wonderkid Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham is expected to complete a £30m move to Old Trafford when he turns 17 in June, but could well be sent out on-loan somewhere else for 12 months to help improve his experience.
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