BARCELONA will raid Atletico Madrid for Saul Niguez if they fail to sign Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
Qatari-owned PSG are in no rush to part with their midfield hardman and have the funds to reject even the most seductive of offers from the La Liga side.
Barca’s back-up option is Niguez but they face a battle to lure him away from Madrid as they are banned from registering players until 2018, so would not be able to replace him.
Keep up to date with all the latest news, gossip, rumours and done deals in SunSport’s live transfer blog
Ernesto Valverde would slot Niguez into Barca’s 4-3-3 with ease and talent spotters from the Catalan club watched the Atleti man all of last season.
The 22-year-old started 29 La Liga games and was subbed on in a further four and he added four goals to his usually defensive duties.
Niguez scored Spain’s opening goal of the current under-21’s European Champion in the 5-0 win over Macedonia.
And he added to his tally and reputation with the opener in the following game against Portugal.
Barcelona have sporting director Robert Fernandez in Poland for the finals where he will have thoroughly impressed with Niguez and his surprise goals.
Atleti have a £70million buyout clause in Niguez’s contract and super-agent Jorge Mendes is the man who will be negotiating any possible deal.
Verratti has rejected a £200,000-a-week contract in France and told Paris Saint-Germain he wants to leave.
But the Ligue 1 side have dug their heels in and said he either signs the mammoth deal or sees out his contract until 2021.