Chelsea will sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez on a season-long loan after head coach Thomas Tuchel played a central role in resurrecting talks.
Following protracted negotiations with the Spanish club, with the move in the balance for a number of days, the two parties finally struck a deal on Tuesday a matter of hours before the transfer deadline
An agreement was all but reached a matter of days ago, with just the inclusion of either an option or obligation to buy to iron out. However, talks stalled after it was revealed that Saul had concerns over his potential game time at Stamford Bridge, and Atletico had second thoughts about permitting the loan unless an obligation to buy was included.
It then emerged that the Rojiblancos would not be willing to do business with Chelsea unless a replacement for the 26-year-old was found first, with Paris Saint-Germain‘s Pablo Sarabia their preferred target.
However, 90min understands Saul was given assurances directly by Tuchel over the number of minutes he would be afforded in the Chelsea team and was persuaded to make the switch, with discussions resurrected on Monday.
A late compromise has been reached between the two clubs and Saul will ply his trade in west London for the remainder of this season. It is understood that Chelsea got their way with a €35m option to buy included, while the Blues will pay an initial loan fee of €5m for Saul’s services. The player is set to arrive in the capital imminently to pen terms.
Tuchel had been keen to add another central midfielder to his squad to compete with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, and the need for the new arrival became more pressing following an ankle injury to the former in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday.
Saul becomes Chelsea’s third signing of the summer after Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Bettinelli. They had hoped to sign Jules Kounde as well, but that deal is increasingly unlikely with the transfer deadline edging closer.