Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has conceded that Saul Niguez could leave Wanda Metropolitano during this summer's transfer window.
Simeone has called the Spaniard "very important for Atletico" but has said that the midfielder would leave with "a big hug" if he were to seek pastures new in the current market.
"Last season he (Saul) spoke with the club, with us about his needs and what he spoke about was the option of having a position on the pitch where he feels more important," Simeone told AS.
"And I consider that Saul became Saul by playing everywhere, but he or many of those around him see it as something negative.
"He is very important for Atletico because he can play as a full-back, right-wing, midfielder. He gives us a lot of options to be able to count on him. He is a player who, in that version and playing how the coach needs him to, performs very well.
"We cannot put aside what is rumoured and talked about. If he has to leave, give him a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always. Either to Barcelona or elsewhere."
Atletico and Barcelona are thought to be in talks over a potential swap deal for Saul and Antoine Griezmann, but a recent report claimed that the Spaniard's agent was also speaking to Man United and Liverpool.