Chelsea will be strong contenders to win both the Premier League and defend their Champions League crown this season after the signing of Saul Niguez – but Jamie Redknapp insists there’s other factors behind the signing.
The Blues confirmed the transfer of the Spain international in the final exchanges of transfer deadline day. As per multiple reports, the Blues will pay a €5m loan fee to take Saul on loan for the season. That move also contains an option to make the move a permanent €35m deal next summer.
In total, the Blues could pay the Spanish champions £34.3m for the 26-year-old midfielder.
Following his signing, Saul sent the Chelsea faithful a message over his impending arrival.
Saul joins Romelu Lukaku in the mix for Chelsea, but they have strengthened their options in two key areas.
After fixing their attack with Lukaku, Redknapp suspected Thomas Tuchel felt Chelsea were lacking in central midfield.
But the signing of the Atletico Madrid man is a real coup. And he now believes they now have real strength in depth there.
He said on Sky Sports News: “Do you know how I see it? I reckon, what they’re probably thinking now, [N’Golo] Kante picked up an injury didn’t he against Liverpool at the weekend, they’ve got [Mateo] Kovacic, Jorginho.
“They might be feeling a little bit light in there and they also know this might be their year, this is a big chance.
“What you don’t want to do is leave yourself short with numbers in a certain area.
“Of course they’ve got other players who can play in midfield, Mason Mount can come and be one of the three in there.
“But if you can get a player like Niguez into the building, good experience, good player, that would make a lot of sense to me.
“Just to give yourself some cover and make sure you have options in that midfield area.”
Redknapp backs Chelsea for glory
Redknapp has previously backed Chelsea for Premier League success this season. And he had a simple answer when asked if the signing of Saul confirms his suspicions about them: “One hundred per cent.
“All the players right now are Champions League winners, so that belief is in their mind that they can do it.
“You looked at the way they played against Liverpool, they’ve got good defenders, they’re strong in every department. So I think they are title contenders.”
Redknapp refused to name an outright favourite for the title, saying there are a quartet of teams who could finish top.
He added: “I think there are four runners. I think you’ve got to look at Liverpool because of their history and having Virgil [van Dijk] back and the crowd.
“Manchester United with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, and [Raphael] Varane and [Jadon] Sancho, you’ve got to put them in the mix, Man City obviously because of winning it last year, and obviously Chelsea.”