KEY POINTS

  • Saul Niguez is on a season-long loan at Chelsea
  • He scored 43 goals for Atletico Madrid
  • Niguez was also wanted by FC Barcelona

Chelsea's new signing Saul Niguez has revealed how head coach Thomas Tuchel convinced him to make the "complicated" move to Premier League this summer. 

Niguez moved from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea on a season-long loan and his contract includes a clause to make the deal permanent at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. The Spaniard's move to Chelsea happened at the last minute before the 2021 summer market ended. To be precise, the paperwork was confirmed just three minutes prior to the closing of the summer window. 

In a recent interview, Niguez spoke about his phone conversation with Tuchel just before agreeing to Chelsea's loan deal. The German boss had promised Niguez to offer him a central midfielder role solely rather than moving him around the pitch like Atletico Madrid's manager Diego Simeone had begun to do, affecting the player's game. Simeone used the versatility of the player to field him from a No. 10 position to a wing-back and nearly everywhere in between. 

With Billy Gilmour sent on loan to Norwich City, Tuchel was keen to add a solid fourth midfield option to his squad alongside N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.

"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. Chelsea has promised me to train in my position [midfield], but to play we will see. To return to certain roles that I do not play in now - that is the most important reason for my decision. This transfer is a step out of my comfort zone for me. I believe that you will see a new Saul in a new [better] place," Niguez was quoted by Goal, as saying in an interview.

After playing in Spain for over a decade, a move to the Premier League was never going to be an easy decision for Niguez. 

"My wife was very nervous. We have had some very complicated days because this decision is not easy. Leaving my home on a new adventure is complicated," added Niguez. 

However, the presence of his compatriot Kepa played a key role in his decision to accept Chelsea's loan deal.

"It is very important that he will be there. It is an important step. If he had not been there, it would have been different. Going on loan for a year and having a teammate with whom I have spent many years in the younger categories of the national team is important," said Niguez, who scored 43 goals in 340 competitive appearances for Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea say new signing
Saul Niguez who has joined from Atletico Madrid is a 'proven winner' Chelsea say new signing Saul Niguez who has joined from Atletico Madrid is a 'proven winner' Photo: AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

During the 2021 transfer window, Niguez was being chased by several clubs, including Liverpool FC and FC Barcelona. While Barcelona wanted to increase their depth, Liverpool were looking at the Spanish midfielder as a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum.