‘A waste of space’: Craig Burley thinks 27-year-old Chelsea player simply hasn’t been good enough this season

Craig Burley called out Saul Niguez for not being up to the standard of the Chelsea.

Speaking on ESPN, the former Blues midfielder had a few choice words to say about the quality of the current Blues midfielder.

Saul so far off the pace

It is fair to say Saul has not settled into his South West London surroundings very well.

Some questions were raised following his deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

Those queries have intensified and almost reached fever pitch thanks to a mediocre few months as a Chelsea player.

Mediocre is probably being kind; this season has been shocking for the Spaniard.

His only two Premier League starts have ended at half-time, with the other three substitute appearances totalling just 72 minutes of action.

A lot can be made of the fact the 27-year-old’s best performances have arrived in the Carabao Cup.

But one decent game away to Brentford doesn’t make up for the numerous other damning displays for the Blues.

Burley not a happy bunny

He has less than half a campaign to persuade the Stamford Bridge hierarchy to make him a permanent fixture in their squad.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

A squad that right now could do with Saul plucking up his ideas and start moving in the right direction fast.

“I was just looking at the bench today in this covid hit Christmas period,” said Burley after Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.  

“Kepa, Marcos Alonso – who came on – N’Golo Kante, (Trevoh) Chalobah – who’s played well – Saul – who’s been a waste of space since he came in from Spain – Ross Barkley – not a bad squad player – Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz.

“Am I missing something? Where is that lack of squad depth? Lost (Ben) Chilwell to injury as well. You can add players on to that. Ruben Loftus-Cheek.”

Chelsea chasing City

If you include the struggling Saul, the rarely efficient Ross Barkley, the inconsistent Hakim Ziyech and the curious Kai Havertz, Chelsea’s strength in depth doesn’t actually look that promising.

Thomas Tuchel should hopefully have Thiago Silva back from injury soon, although he is set to lose Reece James and Andreas Christensen for a period of time.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

When one comes out of the treatment room, another takes his place, therefore the Blues have hardly had a full camp to call upon for some time.

Meanwhile, runaway league leaders Manchester City have pretty much had it all their own way for a majority of the campaign.

Which says a lot about their promising position at the summit of the table, whilst they look down on those scrambling up behind them.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.

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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.