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Simeone hoping Saúl doesn’t leave, but doesn’t rule it out

Flying the coop?

Deportivo Alaves v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Saúl Ñíguez spent much of the summer being shopped around — with both Chelsea and Manchester United possibly interested, among maybe others — but he remains an Atlético Madrid player as we approach the last 72 hours of the transfer window, just as he has been since age 13 in 2008.

Diego Simeone, who’s been Atléti head coach almost as long as well (since 2011), is hoping that will remain the case, and that their relationship will continue, but he doesn’t seem entirely confident that it will.

“Today I told him everything I think and feel, there is not much else. He’s been with us since we came here. We took him out of the academy and helped him achieve everything that he could achieve in his career.

“Now we will see what happens. We know that in football a lot of things can happen.”

-Diego Simeone; source: Marca

Simeone’s words could lend some credence to the idea that Saúl is looking for a new challenge, though recent reports poured a bit of cold water on that happening for him at Chelsea, since he would be coming in only as the fourth-choice midfielder. Then again, Kanté’s latest injury serves as a harsh reminder that even our fourth-choice midfielder is likely to be called into action a fair few times this season.

Chelsea were said to be interested in a loan with a buy-option, which may not be Atlético’s preferred solution. A buy-obligation would probably be too big of a commitment for us however — especially in light of some of our recent, less than advisable big-money acquisitions in midfield.

All that said, this situation seems far from resolved at the moment, so let’s see what happens in the next 48 hours.