The chatter about Chelsea supposedly biting on the chance to acquire Saúl Ñíguez from Atlético Madrid has died down in the last few days, and now, as per Mundo Deportivo, the 26-year-old midfield is in fact set to stay at his club. It’s not the greatest source for this story, admittedly, but it does make sense.
Chelsea supposedly tested the waters with loan bid earlier this week, complete with a buy-option if things worked out a la Mateo Kovačić. In theory, it could’ve been a good move for all involved: a low-risk (financial), high-reward (sporting) operation; and a low-risk (sporting) but high-reward (financial) operation for Atlético.
But it sounded like Atléti really wanted a buy-obligation instead not just to get his high wages off their books, while the player himself has evidently clocked that being fourth choice at Stamford Bridge is perhaps not the best way forward — especially as he’s been fully involved at Atlético so far this early season, playing every minute, and is said to retain a good working relationship with Diego Simeone despite a notable drop in minutes last season.
Mundo’s report claims that this was the last potential exit door for Saúl this summer, and unless an unexpected last-minute bid arrives, he’s set to stay. Se queda, and all that.
On our end, this is probably good news for the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Ethan Ampadu, who can thus fill that fourth midfielder position (alongside versatile players like Trevoh Chalobah).