Chelsea stand firm with midfield transfer decision amid rival Barcelona plan
Chelsea will not stand in the way of Saul Niguez should he wish to terminate his spell with the club in January after reports revealed a new contender for his signature.
Saul signed for Chelsea on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid on deadline day. The Champions League winners beat competition from a number of clubs to secure his services. However, they are yet to see the best of him.
The midfielder has only started one game in the Premier League so far. He was taken off at half-time of that difficult debut. Chances have been few and far between since.
It barely took any time for rumours to emerge suggesting Saul would not see out the season with Chelsea. In fact, the Blues are already being linked with a number of other midfielders despite having the option to buy him.
Saul is therefore already having to consider his next step. One possible solution to emerge recently was the idea of joining Juventus in Serie A.
But a fresh update has revealed that Saul’s next takers could be back in La Liga instead.
According to El Chiringuito, the 26-year-old is wanted by new Barcelona boss Xavi at Camp Nou.
Xavi recently replaced Ronald Koeman as the head coach of Barcelona. He has a major rebuild to oversee and has already secured his first signing in the shape of former teammate Dani Alves.
There will be several other areas of the squad to reinforce if they can do so within the La Liga wage cap. For example, Xavi wants to upgrade the territory he used to roam in midfield.
Manchester United and Chelsea learn Monaco's price for Aurelian Tchouameni
Both Manchester United and Chelsea have learned of Monaco's asking price for midfielder Aurelian Tchouameni, with more news on Kieran Trippier and Luis Diaz.
With that in mind, El Chiringuito have claimed that Barcelona are keen on Saul, who could be recalled by Atletico in January.
Although he is still under contract in the Spanish capital until 2026, Saul was seeking a new challenge this summer and Atletico will be unable to reintegrate him anyway.
Therefore, they will have to ship him off elsewhere again and Barcelona could come calling.
Chelsea will not block any attempts Atletico make to recall Saul, whose time in the Premier League could end after just six months.
But it isn’t a given that he ends up at Barcelona, because Atletico may be reluctant to strengthen a side competing for the same targets midway through a season.
Even so, Xavi will be hoping for Barca to complete the deal in order to revive their own fortunes – and perhaps Saul’s as well.
Soon to turn 27, he should be in the prime of his career but has lost his way in recent years. He has made 340 appearances across his Atletico career and won La Liga last season. But it remains to be seen if he will ever add to them.
In the more immediate future, his hopes of improving significantly upon his tally of five for Chelsea are even in doubt.
Barcelona identify another target from Chelsea
Coincidentally, there were reports earlier this week about Barcelona having an interest in another player currently at Chelsea.
According to Marca, Barcelona are considering a loan swoop for Timo Werner.
Werner has been a bit unlucky but has struggled to live up to expectations since joining Chelsea last summer. They signed Romelu Lukaku as an upgrade a few months ago to address the issue.
The Germany international now faces a battle to build his career back up again. Barcelona could provide him with the answer he needs.
They need extra options up front due to Sergio Aguero being sidelined with a heart issue. In addition, Martin Braithwaite has some issues and Xavi reportedly does not trust Luuk De Jong.
Werner could be a better option for them. But they would need it to be a loan deal due to financial problems.
Therefore, there could be two players switching Stamford Bridge for Camp Nou if Barca can accommodate them both.
READ MORE: Granovskaia ready to give Chelsea green light to sign Hazard alternative