Thomas Tuchel believes Saul Niguez can play a “more strategic” deep-lying playmaker role for Chelsea, as he compared the on-loan Atletico Madrid midfielder to teammate Jorginho.
When asked to describe his playing style in his first interview with the club earlier this month, the 26-year-old defined himself as “a box-to-box midfielder”.
Obviously, looking at the positions that he played at Atletico Madrid in the last few seasons, he is certainly a very versatile player.
While Tuchel agrees that Saul is at his best when operating in midfield, he seems to plan to use him as a playmaker, rather than just a midfield workhorse.
“He’s clearly a midfielder — it’s his best position,” the German told Chelsea TV about his plans for Saul.
“Over the last years, I have a feeling that he’s developed a bit from a classic box-to-box player to a more strategic player, a bit comparable to Jorginho, with a good passing ability and good game understanding.
“I hope he’s a good fit [for the team] that we wish for because we were very patient and passionate about [signing him], and we’re happy that we could make it on the last day.
“So we don’t have to put too much pressure on Jorgi and N’Golo [Kante], and hopefully [he’ll have] a good impact.”
Saul was likely brought in to add depth for this deep playmaker role, given the lack of options.
Tuchel also has plenty of box-to-box options in Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, and now even more after the inclusion of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Two versatile young defenders; Trevoh Chalobah and Ethan Ampadu, can also provide more holding midfield role options when needed.
But unlike Jorginho and Saul, they are not exactly the type of players to dictate the game.