Everyone get the tinfoil hats at the ready, because we’ve got a conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes.
Atlético Madrid stalwart Saúl Ñíguez – who has previously been linked with Manchester United as well as Arsenal – has teased an announcement over his future in just three days’ time.
The 25-year-old has been one of the standout midfielders in La Liga in recent seasons, and has been an ever-present of the Champions League campaign that saw Atléti stun Liverpool back in March. He has made close to 300 appearances for Los Rojiblancos, and with his contract not up until 2026, an exit has never seemed hugely likely, given his value to his boyhood club.
It was a bit surprising, then, when a cryptic Tweet appeared on the player’s official account, which reads: “New club. I’ll announce it in three days.”
Some, naturally, have read the tweet as concrete evidence that he is leaving Atlético in three days time, but that seems a little far-fetched for now.
Such an ahead-of-time announcement would come as out of character for a player whose contract runs until 2026 and who has never so much as hinted at an exit from the club he has served since he was 13 years old.
He’s also one of their prized assets, and his contract status means that he would be very difficult to sign at the best of times; let alone in a summer when a global pandemic is set to slash transfer spending across the board.
The timing of the announcement – hours before the transfer window officially opens and less than two weeks before La Liga resumes – also seems suspect.
This could simply be Saúl’s attempt to poke fun at the infamous ‘La Decision’ saga, which saw his former team-mate Antoine Griezmann announce a special broadcast on Spanish TV, teasing a move to Barcelona in 2018 before deciding to stay put in Madrid.
Or, more likely still he’s announcing a new endorsement, off-field collaboration project or part-ownership in a lower-league side, following Gerard Pique’s example. Some on Twitter suspect the Spain international is even getting involved with his own esports team.
Clearly, Saúl does have something ‘club’ related to announce in three days’ time, and what that could be remains a mystery.
But let’s wait and see before we go mentally assigning him the number seven shirt at Manchester United.
For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!