Chelsea got into a loan deal with Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez throughout the season on Tuesday to further strengthen the wealth of Thomas Tuchel’s options. The Spanish international was a key player at Atlético under Diego Simeone’s reign, but a shocking fall in the order last season, while Los Rojiblancos won La Liga.
“We have completed the signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid with a loan deal for the entire season, with the option of a permanent transfer at the end of the season,” Chelsea said in a statement confirming the football transfer. The 26-year-old was linked with a move to Barcelona in the first window as a load in the deal to bring Antoine Griezmann back to Atletico.
But while Griezmann is on loan to Wanda Metropolitano, Saul is allowed to move to London to make room for Atletico’s salary. “I am very excited to start this new challenge with Chelsea,” Saul spoke his transfer news. “Blues fans, I’m one of you now and I can’t wait to put on the shirt, start training, and see you all.”
At Atletico, Saul scored 43 goals in 340 appearances, beating Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals in 2016, while Simeone’s men reached the final for the second time in two years. His goal-scoring skills add an extra dimension to Chelsea’s midfield, with open-game goals within walking distance of the trio set by Jorginho, Matteo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante.
“We welcome Saul to the club and we believe he complements our team as we compete for honors in five different competitions this season. He is a proven winner, a player with immense experience and we know he will be very fit for the challenges ahead on all fronts next year,” said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.
The Blues won the Champions League last season just five months after Tuchel took the reigns as coach and are expected to challenge him to retain the title and win the Premier League this season. Saul is Chelsea’s second signing in the summer after spending a record £97.5m ($134m) to re-sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.