Have Chelsea just signed their new Mateo Kovacic on transfer deadline day? - TCC View
Chelsea teased us, they taunted us, they turned up late to the party, but they finally managed to make another acquisition before the transfer window shut.
Saul Niguez is a Blue, thanks to a last-minute trolly dash to sweep him from the Atletico Madrid aisle.
Like a game of tennis, the saga went back and forth throughout the day; will he sign, won’t he?
But in the final set, Marina Granovskaia placed a forearm strike that Atletico simply could not return.
The Spaniard joins Thomas Tuchel’s side on a season-long loan deal, with the possibility of becoming a full-time member at the end of his spell.
Having smashed their budget on Romelu Lukaku earlier in the month, snapping up Saul for little initial cost is extremely good business.
It is not often Chelsea bring in new recruits on loan; they are much more comfortable chucking cash and cutting straight to the point.
In fact, the last individual to come into the first team on a part-time basis was Tuchel’s very own Mateo Kovacic.
Kovacic arrived at Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid in 2018, also as a season-long loanee.
Under the watchful, spectacled gaze of Maurizio Sarri, the Croatian international made 51 appearances across all competitions in his first stint.
Although it was not the most groundbreaking of debut campaigns, there was certainly enough evidence to suggest Chelsea had acquired a talented player.
Earning three successive Champions League winners’ medals with Madrid is no fluke.
Back in Blue
Although Sarri was dismissed the following term, Kovacic remained in South West London, as the Blues bought him outright for £40m (BBC).
That year, he would be named the club’s Player of the Season and has gone from strength to strength since.
Seeing any similarities in the Saul exchange?
Both central midfielders arrived from the Spanish capital, on loan, with silverware littered across their CVS.
Chelsea may well want to exercise their right to bring Saul on board indefinitely if he can copy Kovacic’s earliest contributions.