New Chelsea midfielder Saul Niguez revealed what Thomas Tuchel promised him before signing, and appeared to leak what shirt number he will take.
The Blues confirmed the transfer of the Spain international in the final exchanges of transfer deadline day. As per multiple reports, Chelsea 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, Chelsea could pay the Spanish champions £34.3m for the 26-year-old midfielder.
The deal was completed in the final throws of the window with fears now surfacing the paperwork wouldn’t be completed in time.
Man Utd’s David de Gea experienced that scenario in the extreme in 2015 when a slow fax machine stopped his move to Real Madrid in its tracks.
And via the Mirror, Saul revealed he harboured fears something similar could have occurred on Tuesday night.
“At 11:57pm we finished reviewing the contract and they had to see it there… I was like De Gea. I thought: ‘This is not going to come in and that’s it.’ It has been a long afternoon and night.
“My wife was very nervous, we have had some very complicated days, because this decision is not easy. Leaving my house on a new adventure is complicated.”
Despite his undoubted talents, Saul will face a difficult task breaking into the Chelsea starting eleven. N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have excelled in the central roles, though Saul revealed Tuchel promised he will be given chances in his preferred position nevertheless.
“Chelsea has promised me to train in my position, to play we will see,” added Saul. “To return to certain customs that I do not do now, that is the most important reason for my decision.
“The three midfielders who are playing are at a high level, it will not be easy to play, but if I put my mind to it and fight it, I can get it.
“I’ll give it a try and see what happens. Give it my all and help Chelsea so that he [Tuchel] can see the Saúl I want to show. Not just a versatile player. They promised me that I would play in my position. It was very important.”
Letting slip what number he expects to assume, Saul pointed to 17 after admitting his affinity for the number he wore in his early Atletico days. Currently, the No. 17 shirt is vacant at Chelsea.
“It’s a number I had at Atletico Madrid, it’s a number I like,” said the Spaniard (via the Express). “I had it at Atletico. I had it in my early days.”
Clearly ecstatic at joining a team who have taken great strides forward in the last nine months, Saul added: “They are the Champions of Europe. It’s very positive for me. My parents can’t believe it. They are Atletico fans! It’s a great opportunity for me, they are happy for me.
“They are a fantastic team in the Premier League. I don’t speak English, I want to learn it. I know how to say what my name is! That’s it.”
Redknapp outlines ulterior motive behind Chelsea, Saul deal
Meanwhile, 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.
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.”