Chelsea v Burnley: Match in Pictures
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Chelsea are on a transfer collision course with Atletico Madrid over Saul Niguez with the Blues keen to terminate the midfielder’s season-long loan spell just two months after joining the club.
Saul has struggled to impress at Stamford Bridge and has only played a handful of minutes in the Premier League this season.
And despite reports earlier on Tuesday suggesting that Saul was determined to win Thomas Tuchel round and salvage his temporary stint in London, it now seems as though Tuchel has already made his mind up on the midfielder.
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But he’s set to be left disappointed, as Atletico reportedly have no intention of allowing Chelsea to rip up their loan agreement early – leaving both the Blues and Saul in limbo.
A new report from Marca outlines that there is no clause in their agreement with Chelsea that would enable them to send Saul back early without Atletico’s blessing.
And given that Atletico managed to fund Antoine Griezmann’s sensational return by offloading Saul to London for the season, they have no interest in facilitating a return right now.
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Although that stance is set to leave the Stamford Bridge hierarchy disappointed, the report goes on to state that, although Atletico are set to get their own way in January, they are pretty much resigned to the fact that Chelsea will pass on their option to make the deal permanent – meaning Saul will return to Spain in the summer.
It’s a sorry situation for the Spanish ace, who only arrived in England a little over two months ago on transfer deadline day.
Since then, Saul has failed to make any type of impression on Tuchel – who hauled him off at half time on his Premier League debut.
The midfielder has only played a further two minutes in the league since then, with Tuchel also exiling him for the majority of Chelsea’s Champions League games thus far.
Competition for a midfield spot is particularly fierce in west London right now, with both Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek reigniting their Blues’ careers in recent weeks.
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Their unexpected return to prominence has thrust Saul even further down Tuchel’s pecking order. And it’s hard to see where he’ll fit in once players like N’Golo Kante are back to full fitness.
But perhaps the bigger problem for Saul right now is his long-term future.
It’s unclear whether or not Atletico will be able to find room in their budget to accommodate him once his loan deal in the Premier League is up, and it’s going to be hard for him to impress any suitors if he’s not playing any football – which could lead to Atletico struggling to offload him.
Although the situation is still in its infancy, it’s already looking as though nobody in this situation is going to emerge as a winner – especially Saul.
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