Chelsea land Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul on loan

By Sports Desk August 31, 2021

Chelsea have completed the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez on loan for the remainder of the season.

The European champions were successful with a late move for Saul on deadline day and reportedly have an option to buy for £30million (€34m) after paying an initial loan fee of £5m (€5.8m).

Saul had been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool previously but will get his first experience of playing in the Premier League for the Blues.

The 26-year-old was part of Atleti's title-winning side in LaLiga last season, but Diego Simeone refused to rule out the prospect of the player leaving after a 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Sunday.

Saul is contracted to the reigning Spanish champions until 2026 but may have played his last game for the club.

"I am very excited to start this new challenge with Chelsea. Blues fans, I am one of you now and I can't wait to wear the shirt, start training and see all of you. See you soon!" Saul said.

Saul's arrival comes after Chelsea paid out a club-record fee to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge from Inter earlier in the same transfer window.

Club director Marina Granovskaia said of the latest recruit: "We welcome Saul to the club and believe he completes our squad as we compete for honours in five different competitions this season.

"He is a proven winner, a player with huge experience and we know he will be very well-suited to the challenges that face us on all fronts in the coming year."

A box-to-box midfielder, Saul is at his best operating in a central role, though his versatility and work-rate has often seen him deployed out wide by Simeone.

He made only 22 league starts last season, his lowest figure since 2014-15. This perhaps explains why he ranked only fourth in the Atleti squad for attempted tackles in the top tier, with 57.

However, since August 2019, only Real Madrid's Casemiro (190) had attempted more tackles by a midfielder than Saul (159) in LaLiga.

The Spaniard is a proven goal threat too, with his best tally of six coming in 2019-20. When compared to Chelsea's current crop of midfielders, only Jorginho, who takes penalties, has matched or beaten Saul's scoring record.

Chelsea were also believed to be keen to sign Jules Kounde from LaLiga as well, though a deal for the Sevilla centre-back failed to materialise.

Related items

  • I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace

    Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.

    Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger's side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.

    The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O'Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).

    He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.

    Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.

    "The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well," said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.

    "I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.

    "That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.

    "It's about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday."

    Recent history of Palace's trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).

    However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.

    Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.

  • 'It gave us belief, solidarity' - Jamaica goalscorer Roofe believes tough battle against Canada was turning point for team 'It gave us belief, solidarity' - Jamaica goalscorer Roofe believes tough battle against Canada was turning point for team

    Jamaica international Kemar Roofe has expressed delight with opening his goal account for the Reggae Boyz after finding the net in a 2-0 win over Honduras but believes the team started gathering momentum in the previous match.

    The Rangers striker found the back of the net, for a Jamaican team desperately in need of a win, in the 36th minute after successfully deflecting an attempt from strike partner Shamar Nicholson.  A defender, Oniel Fisher, scored the team's second in the second half.

    The goal was the first for Roofe in four matches, having started the last two.

    “It’s a special moment for all of us, getting my first goal for my country.  I want to dedicate this to my dad, he is the reason I am playing for Jamaica,” Roofe said.

    “It was massive for the team to get the three points.  I think it all stems from the game against Canada.  We didn’t get the three points but we got the draw and we came out of that game with solidarity and belief and a lot of respect as well and we brought it into tonight’s game.”

    The Reggae Boyz battled to a 0-0 draw with Canada at the National Stadium on Sunday.  The win sees Jamaica move to five points and 6th position, three points outside of the fourth spot, which is currently occupied by Panama.

  • Inzaghi relishing Inter's trip to Lazio: Boos or applause, it will be great to return home Inzaghi relishing Inter's trip to Lazio: Boos or applause, it will be great to return home

    Simone Inzaghi is unsure what type of reception he will receive when Inter travel to Lazio this weekend but is excited to return to his former home.

    The 45-year-old replaced Scudetto-winning boss Antonio Conte at San Siro in June, a week after bringing an end to his five-year spell in charge of Lazio.

    In the three points for a win era, nobody has managed more Serie A games for Lazio than Inzaghi (197), while only Sven-Goran Eriksson has a better points-per-game return (1.9 compared to 1.82) among those to have managed at least 50 matches.

    Inzaghi had previously spent 11 years with the Biancocelesti in his playing days and six years working as coach of the youth team.

    After winning the Coppa Italia in 2019 and guiding Lazio back into the Champions League last term, when they reached the last 16, Inzaghi's unexpected departure to take over at Inter did not go down well with some fans of the Rome club.

    According to reports from Italy, the relationship between Inzaghi and Lazio president Claudio Lotito has still not been repaired, but the Inter boss is looking forward to walking out at the Stadio Olimpico.

    "It's not a match like the others. For me it's a return to my home of 22 years," Inzaghi said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

    "It will be a great thrill to see the lads who have always given everything for me and the people behind the scenes who were always special.

    "In addition, I'll get to see the Lazio fans, who have been very important for me. We have celebrated and suffered together in these years, reaching great targets that haven't been achieved for a long time.

    "I know there will be boos and applause, but it's part of the job. I will accept them. They know that I have always given everything."

     

    Asked about his relationship with Lotito, five months on from exiting Lazio, Inzaghi replied: "A lot has been said and heard, but I think he and [sporting director Igli] Tare have been very important for my coaching career.

    "Thanks to them I coached Lazio. I will never stop thanking them, knowing that we integrated well and achieved great results."

    Inzaghi was succeeded at Stadio Olimpico by Maurizio Sarri, who has won three, drawn two and lost two of his first seven Serie A games in charge.

    Lazio are unbeaten in their last 16 home matches in the Italian top flight, winning 14 of those in what is their longest such run since 2002.

    And Inzaghi has been impressed by Sarri's work since taking on the job in the Italian capital.

    "I think Lazio have played some excellent games," Inzaghi said. "They are a very well-built team. A new coach has arrived and he's very good at organising the teams.

    "They are playing excellent games, but they lost the last one and therefore they will be angry and will want to play well."

    Inzaghi confirmed that Chile pair Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will not be involved due to returning late from international duty, while Argentina's Lautaro Martinez will be monitored ahead of Saturday's game.

    After two weeks off, Lazio face a gruelling run of matches that will also see them face Marseille in the Europa League before league games with Hellas Verona, Fiorentina and Atalanta in the next fortnight.

    Sarri is not happy with the congested fixture list and suggested money now takes priority over player welfare.

    "We trained for two weeks in reduced ranks, it's difficult to evaluate," Sarri said at a news conference.

    "This is the current state of football; maybe it doesn't belong to me anymore. Every month we play seven games in 19 days and then we are 11 days without players.

    "In practice they train more in the national team than with the club. We are not looking at football as a sport but a show where you try to squeeze out money everywhere. Maybe I’m too old for all this."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.