Chelsea completed the deadline day signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid this week, which is a great deal on several fronts.
The 26-year-old Spaniard has left La Liga champions Atletico for a switch to Stamford Bridge on a season-long loan, with the deal including an option to buy next summer.
His addition clearly gives Blues manager Thomas Tuchel greater depth to his squad. The central midfielder is now an option to compete alongside the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic for a starting position.
One of the biggest positives about the summer deal is that it gives Chelsea something they’ve lacked since 2017.
Saul can try emulate Nemanja Matic success at Chelsea
Saul isn’t guaranteed to walk straight into this Chelsea XI. In fact, it’s going to be a tough battle for him given the competition he’s up against in his new teammates. However, the Atletico Madrid loanee offers something different.
Chelsea sold Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40million back in 2017 and he’s left a void at the Bridge.
The Blues have had success without him under different managers, but it would be fair to suggest they’ve never really replaced his physicality in the centre of the park.
Saul definitely has shades of Matic to his game.
First of all, he’s going to inject some extra physicality to Chelsea’s midfield options because he’s strong defensively and a real figure.
Also, he now gives the Blues a left-footed option. They have been without a left-footed central midfielder since Matic’s exit.
It’s certainly not essential to play with a right-footer and a left-footer in the same midfield, but it gives your side a nice balance whenever it’s deployed.
A Matic-Kante combination was so effective back during the Antonio Conte era, so perhaps we can get something similar from the new signing.
Saul’s game differs to Matic in the sense that he’s more progressive with the ball at his feet, but adding a left-footer to the midfield ranks now looks a really smart move from the club.
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