Report: Saul Loaned to Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline DayAugust 31, 2021
The defending European champions just keep getting stronger.
Chelsea reportedly have agreed to add Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez on a €5 million ($5.9 million) loan, per Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian. Per Matt Law of The Telegraph, the London side are hopeful of completing the loan move with an option to buy after the season.
Saul, 26, is a talented box-to-box midfielder but one who perhaps fell down Diego Simeone's depth chart after Atletico added the talented Rodrigo de Paul on a €35 million ($41 million) transfer this summer.
Saul appeared in 33 games for the La Liga champions last season (22 starts), registering two goals and an assist. His 6.76 average match rating from WhoScored.com in league play ranked just 12th among Atletico players who made 20 or more appearances, however.
He'll bring versatility to Chelsea's midfield, having been utilized as everything from a defensive midfielder and occasional defender at Atletico to the occasional forward or wing-back. But a box-to-box role is his sweet spot.
Chelsea's top options in central midfield are N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, with Mateo Kovacic providing depth and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ethan Ampadu and Trevoh Chalobah available in a pinch.
Few teams in world football can boast central midfield depth like Thomas Tuchel will now have with Kante, Jorginho, Saul and Kovacic at his disposal. Few clubs are as stacked as Chelsea, period.
Anything less than a Premier League title or a second successive UCL conquest will be seen as a disappointment at Stamford Bridge this season.