Chelsea Line-Up Saul Niguez for Summer Swoop

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Chelsea are preparing an incredible £71m deal for Atletico Madrid playmaker Saul Niguez, according to Spanish media outlet Don Balon.

While Antoinne Griezmann, 26, grabs the headlines and Jan Oblak, 24, is one of Europe’s most coveted goalkeepers, Niguez is in demand particularly from the Premier League.

The 22-year-old midfielder quickly rose to prominence under Diego Simeone’s reign and is widely recognised as a pivotal member of the XI which has surpassed expectations to become one of Europe’s most feared teams.

Since returning from a loan spell at another Madrid-based club Rayo Vallecano, Saul has made 148 appearances and scored 23 goals, as well as gaining a regular place in the Spanish national squad.

Manchester United were heavily linked with a move for the midfielder during the summer but Atleti were resolute in their determination to hold onto Niguez. A new contract was signed with a release clause of £125m and if Chelsea want to sign the rising star, they can expect to pay close to that sum.

By opening at £71m, the Blues have laid down a marker and avoided interest from clubs such as Arsenal who need to strengthen their midfield with Granit Xhaka, 25, causing consternation and Mesut Özil leaving.

However, Atletico are confident the 22-year-old will remain in Madrid, after joining the club from Real Madrid’s academy in 2008.