Barcelona have reportedly reignited their interest in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is currently out on loan at Premier League club Chelsea.
According to a report from El Nacional, Barcelona have once again turned their attention towards Atletico Madrid and Spain midfielder Saul Niguez, who is on loan at Chelsea and is struggling.
A product of the Atletico Madrid youth setup, Saul had spent his entire senior career with the Rojiblancos, barring a loan spell away at Elche. The 26-year-old had become a key member of Diego Simeone’s side until last season when his value started diminishing as he fell behind Marcos Llorente, Thomas Lemar, Geoffrey Kondogbia in the pecking order.
As a result, Saul sought an exit from the Wanda Metropolitano in the summer earlier this year, with Barcelona showing a great interest in signing him. However, a move did not materialise, and the Spanish international ended up signing for Chelsea on a season-long loan deal on the summer transfer deadline day.
Since moving to England, though, Saul has struggled to carve out a place for himself in Thomas Tuchel’s side. Indeed, the 26-year-old has made just five appearances across all competitions for Chelsea, only one of which has been a start in the Premier League – even in that game, Saul was taken off at half-time.
Chelsea can sign Saul permanently for a fee of €40 million, but as things stand, they are very much unlikely to consider that scenario. In fact, the report claims that Tuchel has asked the club to let him return to Atletico as early as January, which will become an issue for the La Liga champions as they might be unable to afford his wages while staying within La Liga’s Financial Fair Play limits.
This situation has piqued the interest of Barcelona, who are now considering making another attempt to sign the 26-year-old midfielder. The Catalans are in the market for reinforcements in the middle of the park as there have been question marks raised over the future of Frenkie de Jong following Ronald Koeman’s sacking while Sergio Busquets is not getting any younger.
Given his proven pedigree in La Liga and the ability to play in multiple roles in the middle of the park, Saul can be an asset for the Blaugrana, with the report even claiming that new manager Xavi would be open to working with the 19-time capped Spanish international.
Atletico, for their part, would be willing to let Saul join Barcelona on loan till the end of the season. However, they do not wish to include an option for a permanent transfer to Catalonia. It now remains to be seen whether the Blaugrana can get their hands on the midfielder in January after having missed out on his signing in the summer.