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17th Nov 2021

Thomas Tuchel ‘did not request’ the signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid

Daniel Brown

Saul has made just five appearances this season

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel reportedly did not request the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.

The Spanish international joined the Blues on the final day of the summer transfer window on a season-long loan from Atletico.

His move to Stamford Bridge was somewhat of a surprising one, considering that he made 41 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side in the 2020/21 campaign.

However, the 26-year-old has been unable to make his mark since his move to London, making sure just five appearances for the reigning Champions League winners so far this season.

According to Cadena SER, Chelsea did not plan to sign Saul in the summer window, with the move reportedly sanctioned as a ‘favour’ for the midfielder’s representatives.

The report adds that the Blues have already informed Atletico Madrid that they have no intention of making the loan deal permanent for £34 million next summer.

It has also thought that Chelsea are willing to end his loan early so that he can return to Atletico, where he had established himself as an influential figure.

In October, Saul completed his first 90 minutes since joining the club in the Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out win over Southampton.

Speaking after the game, Tuchel said that he was ‘encouraged’ by the Spaniard’s display, but admitted he had concerns over the midfielder’s ability to cope with the intensity of the game.

“[It] was a good match, a huge step in the right direction for him. I am happy,” said the Chelsea boss.

“We thought maybe he would be struggling with the intensity at the 70th minute but he got better and better, had chances and shots.

“We thought let’s keep him and give him the minutes. It was a good step for him.”

Saul now faces the difficult task of convincing Tuchel that he is good enough to secure a regular role in Chelsea’s midfield, but he faces competition from N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovačić, Mason Mount and Jorginho – as well as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley, who have both impressed in recent weeks.

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