Cesar Azpilicueta thinks Chelsea man who’s played just 45 minutes this season will be an ‘important player’ in future

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has claimed teammate Saul Niguez will be an “important player” at Stamford Bridge moving forward this season.

Saul, 26, arrived late in the summer transfer window to Chelsea on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid.

The midfielder had a difficult Blues debut at the weekend. He lasted just 45 minutes on the pitch against Aston Villa before manager Thomas Tuchel decided to substitute him off at half time. 

However, the Spaniard shouldn’t be judged solely on his first half in a Chelsea shirt and deserves time to adapt to football in a new country.

Azpilicueta has shown his faith in his compatriot by tipping him for a key role in the future:

“He has our full support, he is a great addition and I am happy to have him in our team and I am sure he will keep growing and helping the team. He will be an important player this season,” Azpilicueta said.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Champions League could be great for Saul adapting to Chelsea life

It may take a little time for Saul to get up to speed for Premier League football, something which isn’t a surprise given his entire league career has been in La Liga.

But, using him in the Champions League competition could be a great way to integrate him into the side.

The left-footed central midfielder has 10 goals in 59 Champions League appearances for Spanish champions Atletico. He’s even played in a final, losing against Real Madrid back in the 2015/16 season.

Tonight’s clash at home to Zenit could be an ideal opportunity for him to bounce straight back because it’ll be a huge surprise if the Russian visitors play at the same intensity and aggression as Villa. 

Saul has a lot he can bring to this Chelsea group, so it’ll be intriguing to see how he fares in the next few weeks.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.