Spanish midfielder Saúl Niguez has not had the expected loan spell at Chelsea after joining on a season long loan from Atletico Madrid in the summer.
The Spaniard has made a fee appearances for Chelsea this season and he’s struggled in almost all of them especially in his two premier league starts where he was substituted at halftime.
The game against Watford on Wednesday was just Saúl Niguez’ second premier league start with and there was no much difference from his debut against Aston Villa in September as he struggled throughout the first 45 minutes of both games and couldn’t be trusted to return for the second 45 on both occasions.
Reports have it that despite Saul’s struggles, he’s hopeful he’d make his loan spell at Chelsea a successful one as the club’s recent injuries might leave Thomas Tuchel with no option but to trust the Spain international in more games.
Recall that about a week ago, one of our articles on Brettbarley.com explained how Ben Chilwell’s long-term injury could leave Chelsea short at left wing-back for the rest of the season thereby giving Saúl Niguez a Chelsea lifeline as the midfielder’s got the experience to fill in at that role. And Thomas Tuchel has now confirmed this prediction as in his press conference today, the German expressed his willingness to try Saúl at left wing-back in the next games meaning that we could see the Atletico Madrid loanee deputize for the team’s only natural left wing-back Marcos Alonso anytime soon.
Tuchel on Saúl: “He’s still adapting, he had a yellow card and was a bit shy to play all-in in duels. We lacked physicality as he didn’t want to risk a red card which was a good thing. I think he could play in a wing-back role for us.”
Tuchel on Saúl: “He’s very strong in arriving in the box, finishing and timing, and arriving on second ball. He could be a good fit. In the next games we may have to try it as Chilly is out long-term.”
It definitely won’t be a new role for Saúl as the midfielder was playing in that position for Atletico Madrid before joining Chelsea on loan in the summer.
It’s an interesting one though, as Saúl had openly expressed his unwillingness to play as a wing-back some time back. That might have changed anyways given his recent struggles in the Chelsea midfield and who knows? Playing at wing-back could finally be the precursor to him finding his mojo at Chelsea.