A damning report has revealed that Chelsea went behind Thomas Tuchel’s back with the summer capture of Saul Niguez.
The central midfielder arrived from Atletico Madrid on an initial loan. Chelsea have the ability to make his move permanent for €35m (£30m), should he impress at Stamford Bridge.
But that is yet to happen for the 26-year-old. He made his Chelsea debut in September’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa, only to be brought off at half-time with the score at 1-0.
After the match, Tuchel explained his decision to bring Saul off. He said the player had ‘struggled’ and made too many mistakes on the ball.
Saul has only featured for just two minutes in the Premier League since then. He made a late cameo in the 3-0 win over Newcastle last month.
The Spain international has been given more game time in the Carabao Cup but may struggle to replace the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic in Tuchel’s plans.
Recent reports suggest he may make a shock Chelsea exit as soon as January, with Juventus and Barcelona monitoring the situation.
Sport Witness, citing reports in the Spanish press, now give a pretty bleak insight into Saul’s Chelsea switch. They write that Tuchel did not request the star’s arrival, noting that he already had enough quality midfielders.
Saul was in no way in the German’s plans, which partly explains why he rarely seems to feature in important games.
Despite this stance, Chelsea went ahead and took him to west London anyway. They did so as a ‘favour’ to Saul’s agent, Jonathan Barnett of ICM Stellar Sports, to keep up good relations.
Barnett represents former Chelsea target Jeremy Doku, suggesting the Blues could come back in for the Belgian during 2022.
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Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle write that Chelsea are in pole position to land Fenerbahce’s Attila Szalai.
The centre-back is being lined up as Thiago Silva’s long-term successor in defence. He is highly-rated and is even called ‘the Hungarian Virgil van Dijk’.
Barcelona are potential suitors but are being blown away by Chelsea officials. The Blues could complete a €20m deal in January, to give Szalai his first shot at the Premier League.
Szalai made three appearances at Euro 2020 as Hungary held France and Germany to draws. They were unlucky not to get out of Group F.
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