Chelsea are eyeing a deal for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who could be on the move this summer, according to reports in Spain.
Saul came through the academy ranks at Atletico and has established himself as a key player. He proved his commitment when signing a huge nine-year contract back in 2017. Five years of that deal still remain, but it seems as though this summer might be the one in which he finally cuts his ties with the club.
Atletico are aware they need to make one major sale to balance the books this summer. Given that everything they make on Saul is profit, he is a prime candidate to be sacrificed.
It seems he too is considering a change of scenery. For example, there were rumours he had agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich.
But such a transfer is not a foregone conclusion. According to AS (via Sport Witness), Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain also have Saul “in their sights”.
That would mark a battle between Thomas Tuchel’s current and former clubs. The coach has made a significant impact since joining Chelsea, whom he led to Champions League glory.
PSG chiefs have since insisted they have no regrets about sacking the German in December. But now they could go head-to-head in the transfer market.
It will be an important summer at Stamford Bridge following their Champions League success. Tuchel lifted them from ninth in the Premier League when he took over to fourth by the end of the season, but they will be aiming higher in his first full season at the helm.
Chelsea spent heavily last summer and are prepared to do so again. It seems like signing a new striker is their top priority, but they could seek to strengthen in midfield as well.
With that in mind, Saul has been identified as a possible target.
PSG, meanwhile, are facing a minor rebuild after losing the Ligue 1 title to Lille. The French giants will always be there or thereabouts, but their constant pursuit of excellence could force them into the market this year.
Both clubs would have to spend big to land Saul, though. Reports recently indicated there had been an €80m bid from Bayern.
It shows the kind of fee that may be required to prise the 26-year-old away from his current club, with whom he won La Liga in 2020-21. First of all, though, the Spain international must have talks with Atletico in the coming weeks to assess the situation.
Saul linked with Liverpool
Chelsea are not the only potential Premier League suitors for Saul, who has so far spent all his career in Spain.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards is planning an approach to beat Manchester United to the signing of Saul.
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United have been linked with Saul, who might be a slightly cheaper alternative to other targets like Declan Rice.
However, according to Empire of the Kop, Liverpool have also been alerted by Atletico’s willingness to sell Saul.
They have claimed that the Reds are strongly considering an approach for the classy midfielder and could look to gazump any bid from United.
Liverpool are in the market for a new central midfielder with Georginio Wijnaldum departing Anfield as a free agent. And there’s no doubting Saul would prove another top-quality addition should they decide to pursue a move.
Hence, Chelsea have plenty of competition to fend off if they are to get serious about Saul.