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Chelsea complete final signing of the summer window as Saul Niguez arrives on loan
BY ON September 26th, 2021. SPORTS

Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan deal.

The Blues went into deadline day looking to complete two transfers: Jules Kounde from Sevilla and Saul from Atletico. It’s the latter that has been done.

The midfielder will spend the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea have the option to make his stay permanent for a fee of around £30million, according to Sky Sports.

Atletico had initially hoped to include an obligation for the Blues to sign the Spanish international next summer but it’s understood that would’ve ended the European champions’ interest in the 26-year-old.

Saul steps away from Atletico after 12 years with the club. He joined the Madrid giants aged 14 and cemented himself as a regular under Diego Simeone during the 2014/15 campaign.

In the summer of 2017, having top-scored for Spain at the Under-21 European Championships, Saul attracted interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs.

But he opted to remain with Atletico and signed a nine-year deal with Los Rojiblancos that expires in the summer of 2026.

Saul was a mainstay in the Atleti side over the next three years, although not in a fixed position.

He would fill in where required: wing-back, left-back, left midfield, right midfield, as a six or an eight, or even further forward on the odd occasion.

However, that versatility harmed Saul last term as Simeone settled on a midfield in which Marcos Llorente, Koke and Thomas Lemar were given prominent roles.

The 26-year-old started only 22 games in all competitions for Atleti as a result.

He started the opening two La Liga fixtures of the current campaign for Atletico as a left wing-back before coming off the bench against Villarreal on Sunday.

As he has not been called up by Luis Enrique for Spain’s World Cup qualifiers, Saul is expected to join up with Chelsea’s depleted first-team squad later this week.

Chelsea’s other potential deadline deal, Kounde, never came close to fruition as the La Liga side’s sporting director, Monchi, confirmed early in the day that the France international would be staying unless the Blues triggered his £68m buyout clause.

“The only offer from Chelsea for Kounde was last Wednesday for an amount we didn’t like,” he said. “It was not enough for us.

“We responded with a counter-offer which had a deadline of Friday, to allow us to be able to sign a replacement. They did not respond to that counter-offer before Friday.

“Kounde’s clause never went up to €90million. It has always been €80million. We met at the end of May to discuss our targets for the window I’m happy with how it went, but not 100% satisfied. There have been some factors such as the salary cap that have affected the plans.”

Chelsea may have not landed Kounde but Saul’s arrival certainly gives Thomas Tuchel a strong enough squad to compete on five different fronts – the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup – over the remainder of the season.


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