Chelsea sign Saul Niguez on loan
According to Sky Sports, Chelsea have signed Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on loan for the current season. The Blues have apparently paid £3.4million as a loan fee to Los Colchoneros and the contract includes an option to make the move permanent for £30million next year. The Spaniard was signed by Chelsea on deadline day.
Saul has spent his footballing career on Atletico’s books and made his name as a youngster, especially during Diego Simeone’s initial years at the Vicente Calderon Stadium. Since then, the 26-year-old has become a regular fixture for the Argentine manager. But is bringing him to the Premier League the right call by Thomas Tuchel?
Chelsea could use Saul Niguez this season
The Blues have a set midfield that features N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, and Jorginho. Two out of these three start in Thomas Tuchel’s acclaimed 3-4-2-1 formation that has worked well for Chelsea ever since the German overtook the reins from Frank Lampard. And the Blues saw a lot of activity in their midfield this summer.
Tiemoue Bakayoko was loaned out yet again and he will be at AC Milan for this season. Danny Drinkwater, another out-of-favour midfielder who can’t get a game at Chelsea, has been sent to Reading, while youngsters Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher have also left on loan spells- to Norwich City and Crystal Palace respectively.
Up and coming midfielder Lewis Bate also made a permanent switch to Leeds United, while Marco van Ginkel was also finally let go by the club as he made a switch to PSV. All of this wouldn’t have really impacted Tuchel’s pecking order which he trusted last season. But the Blues still needed depth.
Saul could be a long-term asset if signed permanently
Having four senior midfielders when playing a 2-man central midfield is important for a club as big as Chelsea. They will be competing for trophies on five fronts after already winning the UEFA Super Cup, and for that, squad rotation and depth becomes important. Moreover, Kante is already feared to have picked up an injury while on duty for France.
Fitness issues can spring up unexpectedly and Chelsea are smart to be prepared. Saul can play in central midfield as well as out wide, which would be a bonus for any manager to have. The 26-year-old has over 370 senior appearances in Spain and has the know-how of playing at a big footballing establishment.
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Moreover, a loan deal with an option to buy is a smart move as well. It gives Thomas Tuchel almost a 1-year-long period where he can assess Saul, after which the club can make a call if they want to sign him permanently. Moreover, Kante and Jorginho will be in the final year of their contracts next summer, which makes Saul a contender to be a successor to one of them.