Date: 14th September 2018 at 2:06pm
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Everton rejected the chance to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez when he was 18, according to Guillem Balague.

The Sky Sports journalist and renowned Spanish expert revealed on BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday night that the Toffees and Manchester United turned down the opportunity of landing the playmaker a few years ago.

Balague is convinced that Niguez, now 23, has the potential to become the outstanding midfielder in Europe as he explained why Spain have a special talent on their hands.

“We have never had a midfielder like this,” Balague told Radio Five Live. “Finally people have realised the talent that this man has.

“As an 18-year-old he was offered to Everton and they said no, as a 20-year-old he was offered to Manchester United and they said no but I think in the next couple of years we will be talking about him as one of the top, if not the top midfielder in Europe.

OPINION

Saul Niguez is the talisman of the new Spanish generation as the old guard are moved on following the retirements of Andres Iniesta and David Silva. He is an outstanding player who demonstrated during the international break why Spain have another world beater on their hands. Ignored during the World Cup, when he was an unused substitute in every game, Niguez scored in both of Spain’s Nations League wins in a new-look midfield. But he is far more than just a midfield runner who can make expertly timed runs into the box to convert the chances his team makes. The 23-year-old can also dictate the play with expert distribution and outstanding technique, and close down opponents with the energy and discipline that is the hallmark of Diego Simeone’s Atletico side. With 209 appearances under his belt for the Madrid club, Everton’s loss is Atletico’s gain. How the Toffees must bemoan the one who got away.