New Chelsea signing Saul Niguez may have to play sooner than Thomas Tuchel may have wanted after N’Golo Kante handed the Blues an injury scare. Saul has moved to Stamford Bridge from Atletico Madrid on deadline day in a loan deal than contains an option to buy at the end of the campaign.
It was a move that has been in the making for most of the summer, with Atletico keen to move the midfielder’s wages off their bill.
They struggled to find a permanent home for the 26-year-old and instead opted to sanction a temporary departure as the window entered its final stages.
Chelsea had long been considered one of the frontrunners to sign Saul, who helped Atletico to win the La Liga title last season.
Their interest came to fruition on the final day of the window, with the Blues able to overcome a late hiccup to complete the deal.
Saul’s main strength lies in linking play between defence and attack, a key skill needed for midfielder’s in Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system.
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But he was forced off after just 45 minutes at Anfield, having aggravated the ankle problem following a challenge with Sadio Mane.
Kante will now return to London to work on his fitness, though it is too early to deem how long he will be ruled out for.
The Blues face Aston Villa in their first game after the international break and it could mean Saul is handed an immediate starting spot.
That may be sooner than Tuchel would have liked, with the Spaniard having just nine days of training before his potential debut.