'Door will be open': Manager says 26-year-old could leave his side, after claims Chelsea want him

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone’s recent remarks on Saul Niguez’s future might just grab the attention of Chelsea.

Speaking to AS, Simeone admitted that he wasn’t sure where the Spaniard would be playing next season.

Saul is under heavy transfer inspection from certain sections across Europe as he edges closer to an exit from Atletico.

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A potential swap deal including Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann had been mentioned, although nothing has yet materialised.

Fabrizio Romano explained that Chelsea would pursue Saul if the trade-off with Barca fell through.

Simeone shares his Saul vowes

The 26-year-old may well remain at the Metropolitano Stadium another term, considering his contract doesn’t expire until 2026.

However, Simeone gave no certainties that the midfielder would be playing for him in 2021/22.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

“I have spoken with him and we cannot put aside what is rumoured and talked about,” said the Atletico coach. 

“If you stay, to work as you have always done and if you leave, the door will be open in the best way. 

“We have been together for eight years. I think we gave him everything we had as a coach and he as a footballer. 

“If he stays, to work without giving anything away in competition with many people in the midfield and if he has to go out, a big hug, wish him the best with the boys who gave us life and to continue being friends, as always. Either to Barcelona or elsewhere.”

Photo by Michael Regan – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Simeone and Saul have been attached since the latter took charge of Atletico in 2011.

Between them, they have won two Europa Leagues, one La Liga title, two Super Cups, and twice finished runners-up in the Champions League.

Their legacies will live long in the memory, although it seems one is about to end.

Aside from Chelsea, Saul also has interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.

He will undoubtedly find a home pretty swiftly if he departs Colchoneros, whether that be in his homeland or the Premier League.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.