Chelsea loan star Saul takes on the difficult Stamford Bridge challenge following Tuchel comments


Thomas Tuchel signed Saul Niguez (from Atletico Madrid) in the summer transfer window. The Spanish midfielder has rarely featured since arriving at Chelsea, after an unremarkable debut.

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When Saul Niguez signed for Chelsea on transfer deadline day, there was high hopes for the midfielder who had been a mainstay in Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side for so many years.

Saul was getting frustrated by being placed in less natural positions, especially out wide. He subsequently left Atletico with only minutes remaining before the summer transfer window closed.

After a disastrous debut, in which he played just 45 minutes against Aston Villa, the 26-yearold has been unable to feature and was then hooked at half time.

Saul was involved in the EFL Cup penalty shootout win against Aston Villa, and he also played 76 minutes against Malmo. He came off the bench in the 4-0 victory against Malmo last Wednesday.

The Spaniard was forced to wait patiently on a bench, despite his brief appearances.

The midfielder took to Instagram after his debut to admit it wasn’t the debut he expected after giving possession away multiple times, showing a lack of intensity that Thomas Tuchel demands and consistently being caught out on the ball.

“Wasn’t the expected debut,”Saul posted a message on social media, along with a photo of him and his new teammates.

“Really happy with my first game and victory with the team. Incredible to see Stamford Bridge full of Blues.”

Simeone was known for his high work rate, which was what Simeone required to be successful over all these years. This made it unusual that Simeone showed a lackluster intensity.

Saul, a centre midfielder by trade, would fit into Tuchel’s 3-5-2 system in the middle of the park, but the performances of the like of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante have kept him out the team.

Although the midfielder was previously a left-back for LaLiga, he is not likely to be suited for a wingback role in Tuchel’s system.

Chelsea have apparently already decided on Saul and are unwilling to give up the possibility to sign him on a permanent basis.

According to Spanish outlet La RazonThe Blues are looking at other options and are open to the possibility of Marcelo Brozovic, an Inter midfielder, coming to Stamford Bridge.

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The 28-year-old’s contract expires in June, meaning he will be able to negotiate freely with other clubs from January onwards.

But Chelsea will have to battle Liverpool for the Croatian midfielder’s signature, with Inter Live Reporting that Jurgen Klopp is also interested in a move.

Newcatle and PSG are also said to be interested in Brozovic, who is reportedly demanding wages of around £100,000-a-week.

However, Tuchel recently insisted after Chelsea’s 3-1 win against Southampton that Saul still has a future at Stamford Bridge.

He stated, “He doesn’t need to worry. [He just needs to]If you work hard, and are flexible, the chances of success will be high.

“We have only 11 [players] to give a chance. I would like to see it in a positive way.

“If you turn it around, of course you have eight players who we didn’t trust today from the beginning. This is the reality. This is a reality that I can’t hide from.

“I will always do my choices in the best belief for the team and best belief in this moment and for these type of games. There will always be tactical choices and choices of current form and of connections on the field.

“Saul was especially close to starting today. In the end, I decided against him because I thought to put him in another high pressing match, an opponent pressing so high in the centre of the pitch, would it be fair to say ‘okay, now prove it and let’s see if your adaption has gone further’ and I hesitated a little bit.

“I have to take the selection and take the responsibility for the selection, and eight players today did not like it. It is also life at Chelsea and we have to keep on going and keep everyone positive.

“The guys have to work for their form because form is most important – form and confidence and a positive attitude. He has everything.”

Whether Saul is given more of a chance at Stamford Bridge in the coming months remains to be seen, although it certainly won’t be easy for the midfielder to break into a side performing as well as they are.

But Tuchel’s apparent promise that he is closing in on getting some first-team minutes under his belt will be a relief to Saul after his rocky start to life in west London.

Now it is up to the Spain international to prove he is worthy of a place in Tuchel’s best starting XI, with competition for places more rife than ever at Stamford Bridge.

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