Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel did not ask to sign Saul Niguez and the deal was simply a favour for an agent, according to a surprise report from Spain. The Blues moved to secure a deadline day loan deal with an option to buy after Atletico Madrid insisted on offloading Saul in order to bring his former team-mate Antoine Griezmann back to the Wanda Metropolitano from Barcelona.
Saul was adamant he’d received guarantees of game time in central midfield but that just hasn’t happened so far in west London.
The 26-year-old has featured just twice in the Premier League, starting only once in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
Tuchel hooked the Spaniard on half-time during that game and opportunities for Saul have been limited ever since.
Reports in Spain have since claimed that Saul could return to Atletico in January with Chelsea contemplating cutting the loan deal short.
Saul’s last outing came in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout triumph over Southampton.
Tuchel was pleased with his contribution and hinted more minutes could follow in due course.
“Was a good match, a huge step in the right direction for him. I am happy,” he said.
“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.”
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley have forced their way back into contention and both have impressed in recent weeks as they continue to fight of their futures at Stamford Bridge.
Competition is extremely fierce in the middle of the park this season with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic still the three preferred faces.
Kovacic has recently been missing with a hamstring injury though, opening the door to Saul but the Atletico Madrid man has continuously been overlooked.