Chelsea’s pursuit, serious or not, of Saúl Ñíguez looks dead in the water, with the 26-year-old midfielder set to stay at Atlético Madrid barring any last-minute bids from us and a change of heart (and/or an incoming signing) from them.
As mentioned yesterday when discussing this possibility, no incoming midfielder or defender signings would likely mean that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu, both of whom spent last year out on loan at (terrible) Premier League sides, would be staying with the team this season.
And that’s precisely what looks to be happening now, and with reports this morning adding that Loftus-Cheek himself wanting to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea.
I expect Loftus-Cheek will stay after this news. He is happy to try and fight for his place. Tuchel has described him as like 'Ballack' in the past. #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) August 31, 2021
At 25 years of age and with three years still left on his contract, this may not be a “last” chance for the Academy graduate, but it certainly could be a “make or break” season. He’s now over two years removed from the Achilles rupture, with a full rehab season under his belt as well. Expectations should still be tempered accordingly, but as a backup (attacking) midfielder, he should be able to get some relatively low-pressure minutes to get himself restarted at the Bridge.
No further signings do leave Chelsea potentially short of one (defensive) midfielder, but we can look to Ampadu, Trevoh Chalobah (as on Saturday), or even someone like Reece James or Andreas Christensen to step in if needed.