Transfer Talk: Saul heads the list of LaLiga's most wanted
The winds of change are blowing in Spain — and a number of LaLiga’s top stars look set to be on the move.
Whether it is teams trying to cash in on talent or clubs clearing the decks to make way for new arrivals, all eyes will be on the Spanish top flight before the summer window slams shut.
As the transfer merry-go-round gathers pace, we highlight five heavyweights attracting attention from across Europe.
Atletico Madrid have already signed Udinese playmaker Rodrigo De Paul and midfield maestro Saul Niguez could now be sacrificed.
Despite signing a bumper nine-year deal in 2017, 26-year-old Saul is believed to be available for £45million this summer.
Initially linked with a move to Barcelona in a deal that would have seen Antoine Griezmann return to the capital, reports now claim the Spain international could be heading to the Premier League.
Saul is believed to be a target for Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.
If reports are accurate, Sevilla's Jules Kounde has rejected a move to Tottenham.
But the 22-year-old defender has no shortage of suitors and is coveted by almost every elite European club.
When compared with other centre-backs over the past year, Kounde ranks in the 85th percentile across Europe’s top five leagues for aerial duels won with 3.51 per 90 minutes — despite his 5ft 11in frame.
He is also proactive in possession, averaging 4.16 progressive passes and 5.54 progressive carries per 90.
Kounde is even in the 98th percentile for completed dribbles by centre-backs (0.89 per 90).
If you are after a long-term all-round defender, the Frenchman is your man.
Former Tottenham man Kieran Trippier reportedly wants to return to England this summer.
He played a starring role for Atletico Madrid last term as they claimed a second domestic title under Diego Simeone and helped Gareth Southgate’s England reach the Euro 2020 final.
Manchester United are believed to be at the front of the queue for the 30-year-old right-back.
With Jadon Sancho signed, sealed and delivered, United are looking to further improve their right flank as they mount a challenge for the title.
Trippier ranked in the 99th percentile for progressive passes by full-backs last season, attempting 7.8 per 90.
He would be the ideal foil for Sancho, ensuring the ball reaches the former Borussia Dortmund ace man with great regularity.
Barcelona’s financial plight is well known. In order to register new signings, they need to reduce the wage bill and Griezmann is reportedly the highest earner after Lionel Messi.
There is little chance the legendary Messi will leave the Camp Nou so it has to be the French forward who departs.
Linked with a return to Atletico, many of Europe’s top clubs are believed to be keeping tabs on the situation.
Juventus, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have all been mooted as a potential destination for the striker.
The 30-year-old poacher had a disappointing debut campaign with Barca but looked back to his best last term, finishing with 13 LaLiga goals.
After winning everything possible with Real Madrid, Raphael Varane is believed to be looking for a new challenge.
With 12 months left on his current deal, Los Blancos are having to cash in to ensure the 28-year-old Frenchman does not depart on a free next summer.
Manchester United are leading the way and a deal is, if reports are accurate, very close.
If it comes to fruition, Varane would partner Harry Maguire in the heart of the defence at Old Trafford.
The England international is the beast and the Frenchman, in possession, would be the beauty.