Saul Niguez does not believe it made sense for Atletico Madrid to send him on loan to Chelsea, also admitting his sadness for not being able to say goodbye to his former fans.
Chelsea secured the services of Saul for the season when acquiring him on loan as their final summer transfer on deadline day. It will mark the first time he has played for a club other than Atletico since his loan spell with Rayo Vallecano in the 2013-14 campaign.
The Spain international was a regular for Atletico ever since, even starting their first three games this season. However, speculation of a move rumbled on all summer and eventually it came true.
Following the signing of Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese, Atletico’s midfield options increased. Therefore, even though Saul is still under contract until 2026, they let him leave. Chelsea have the option to buy him permanently, too, so his 340th game for Atleti may have been his last.
Even though it seemed he was angling for a move for a few months, Saul has now questioned the circumstances of his exit.
“A player of my name and going out on loan is a gamble,” Saul told Ibai Llanos on Twitch (via the Express). “It doesn’t make any sense, honestly.
“It’s an investment in me. It’s a gamble to get back to being me. These last three seasons have not been easy for my family and me.
“The pity is that I have not been able to say goodbye to the red and white fans, explaining my version of how I feel and how I have felt.”
Meanwhile, Atletico have been giving their own version of events. Club president Enrique Cerezo suggested the reasons for his exit were tactical, but there were no ill feelings.
“Saul was not very satisfied in the position in which he was playing and has decided to leave,” Cerezo told El Larguero. “Wherever he goes he will be a great player and much loved by Atletico de Madrid.”
In the same discussion with Llanos, Saul confirmed he was unhappy with being fielded in different positions, so they seem to agree there.
Saul tipped to take Chelsea to next level
Meanwhile, Gary Neville believes Chelsea have made an ‘excellent’ signing in Saul, who will make them ‘more formidable’ and able to challenge on all fronts this season.
“Saul is just another excellent player,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“He’s got massive experience at the top of La Liga, massive experience in the Champions League and at international level.
“That’s Chelsea’s model and you look at what they’ve done in this transfer window in terms of ins and outs and again, it’s been another exemplary performance from them.
“They are a strong team. I’ve watched them twice already this season, away at Arsenal and away at Anfield.
“That is a really good team, a team that wins and is ready to win more. When they went down to 10 men at Anfield, I never really thought it was going to be easy for Liverpool to break Chelsea down in the second half.
“That’s when you know you are playing against a good team because that’s the toughest place to play.
“And the addition of Saul along with Romelu Lukaku makes them stronger and stronger and stronger. In the midfield with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic they already look really strong.
“You only need two in there with the way they play. But Saul’s addition means they can challenge on all fronts. It strengthens them enormously and makes them more formidable than they were at Anfield last Saturday.”