Report: Midfielder changes his mind about joining Chelsea at last minute

Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez has decided against joining Chelsea on loan due to a lack of guaranteed prominent role under Thomas Tuchel, according to 90min.

The 26-year-old is reportedly looking for a move away from Atleti this summer after being unhappy with his situation at the club.

Diego Simeone, who clearly sees Saul as a versatile player, has deployed him in various positions in the last year.

Recently, he has often played as a left wing-back in Simeone’s 3-5-2 formation, ahead of Kieran Trippier.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

While it helps Saul play more regularly, he is reportedly not happy and prefers to play in his natural position in midfield.

His omission from the Spain national team squad in the Euro 2020 might have also played a part, as his undefined role at Atleti clearly did not help his case.

So he reportedly wanted to leave despite having signed a nine-year contract with Atleti in 2017, and according to 90min, had his permission from the club.

Chelsea, and a few other Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, were among potential destinations for the midfielder.

The Blues are said to be interested and have even already reached agreement with Atleti, with only a few details such as the option to buy left to be finalised.

However, Thomas Tuchel does not really need a first-choice midfielder, but rather a rotational or a backup midfielder after Billy Gilmour’s loan move to Norwich City.

Saul is not satisfied with the lack of guaranteed game time at Chelsea, 90min added, and eventually decided not to continue the potential loan deal.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Chronicle view

To be fair, Saul’s desire to play regularly as a midfielder and Chelsea’s need for a fourth-choice midfielder were incompatible in the first place.

Saul’s reported decision could spell good news for a couple of Chelsea players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu, whose spots in the squad were at risk.

Ampadu, in particular, who can play in both midfield and defence would arguably be the most sensible option for Chelsea unless they plan to bring in another midfielder.

Tuchel himself previously admitted that he still has a few “ideas” ahead of the transfer window deadline day, and further signings, including Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, are still possible.

A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.