Chelsea rarely enjoy a quiet, straightforward day anymore.

Owners arriving, players leaving. Super League slip-ups, Champions League triumphs. Injuries, absences. Statement wins, sore losses.

You name it and Chelsea have probably covered it.

Now, Thomas Tuchel has thrown an extra distraction into the mix, if Stamford Bridge wasn’t full enough of commotion already.

A distraction that might affect a decision that doesn’t even need to be made for another seven or eight months.

Saul saga

When Saul Niguez left Atletico Madrid on deadline day, an intrigued murmur rippled around the club and their fanbase.

Chelsea Unveil New Loan Signing Saul Niguez
(Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

A Spanish title winner, with European pedigree of the highest degree, signed on a season-long loan; what’s not to like?

But the minute Saul stepped foot in South West London, his stop-clock started.

In just under a year – a time frame that’s shrinking daily – Chelsea will either send the Spaniard packing or make him a permanent £30m (Sky Sports) fixture.

Although the midfielder’s Premier League career has hardly seen liftoff, the early signs of a longer-term contract are not promising.

His only top-flight outing to date ended after 45 minutes, a home tie against Aston Villa.

Chelsea v Aston Villa - Premier League
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Saul lasted slightly longer in the Carabao Cup clash with Villa, but failed to capture many headlines.

Of course, many more windows of opportunity await on the horizon.

However, the player will be fully aware the sand timer is slowly shifting.

A process that might be sped up thanks to the form of three others on the Blues books.

Return of Ruben and Ross

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s reintegration into the team has certainly sat well with Chelsea supporters.


Four consecutive appearances for the 25-year-old indicates that he is truly back in Tuchel’s plans.

Juventus v Chelsea FC - Group H - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

During that time he has clearly moved above Saul in the midfield pecking order.

Another who is gaining ground on the Spanish international is a man who previously looked down in the dirt.

Ross Barkley’s surprise introduction away to Juventus in the Champions League raised some eyebrows.

To be brought on again in the subsequent match versus Southampton again caused a few questions to be asked.

But it was Barkley’s delightful pass that instigated Chelsea’s second of the afternoon and put Tuchel’s men in front.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League
(Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Two contributions off the bench does not completely indicate a resurrection.

However, it’s surely better than the £15m (BBC) man from Everton could have expected at this stage.

The prince of Palace

With Barkley and Loftus-Cheek back in contention, should Saul be shaking in his boots?

Potentially. And that’s without even mentioning the campaign Conor Gallagher is currently enjoying at Crystal Palace.

Gallagher’s eagle wings have well and truly spread under Patrick Vieira.

Crystal Palace v Leicester City - Premier League
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

He has been soaring across the capital away from Chelsea.

If he carries on flying high, the Blues will have no choice but to recall their academy graduate at the end of the term.

That could well be another nail in Saul’s coffin.

Nothing is set in stone yet. Although, the cement is already beginning to settle.

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

Have something to tell us about this article?