Chelsea unwilling to sign Atletico Madrid loanee Saul Niguez permanently
The midfielder has experienced severe difficulty adapting to Thomas Tuchel’s tactics at Chelsea and has struggled to impose himself on a regular basis. The 27-year-old couldn’t initially make any impactful performance for the Blues and fell down the pecking order.
The Atletico Madrid loanee has only featured in 15 matches, including two starts in the Premier League. It represents a poor return from a player who was in his heyday one of the best players in his position.
Due to Saul’s inconsistent performance in the central midfield position, Tuchel took to deploying him in the left full wing-back role to cover up the absence of Ben Chilwell. However, the 27-year-old couldn’t capitalize on such an opportunity and has looked like a fish out of water.
The Spaniard, to his credit, made a comeback against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals earlier this week. Saul gave an exceptional performance against Antonio Conte’s side and was everywhere on the pitch in the first half. The Atletico loanee’s performance rejuvenated the hopes of the Blues fans in the stadium and he was arguably the Man of the match on the night.
Atletico Madrid included a £30m buyout clause in Niguez’s loan deal but Chelsea have decided not to make the move permanent. The midfielder now looks set to return to the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season.
Atletico were pushing for a permanent move for Niguez last summer. However, Marina Granovskaia negotiated a loan move instead, as she thought it’d be better for the team. It is fair to say that she had the power of hindsight and made the right call.
Chelsea do require quality backups for N’Golo Kanté, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. We have seen earlier this season that without these three players, Tuchel’s midfield is vulnerable. However, young reinforcements have been preferred, and players like Declan Rice and Aurelien Tchouameni could represent better value for money.
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Blues are struggling with squad depth amid a severe injury crisis. Thus, Saul’s return to form would help massively. However, the Spaniard will need to keep the purple patch going. Whether he will make a case for himself in the second half of the season remains to be seen.
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