Thomas Tuchel has revealed that both he and Chelsea have been scouting Saul Niguez ‘for years’ following the midfielder’s arrival at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea sealed the loan signing of Saul from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day, with the Spain international in line to make his debut for the west Londoners during Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Tuchel has been discussing the midfielder’s arrival and says Saul has settled quickly at the club, confirming the 26-year-old will be included in this weekend’s match-day squad.
“He was with us now for two weeks, he played at the highest levels and the picture is very, very clear.”
“The club have followed him for years. They have expertise from all the scouting reports over the years about him.
“It was a quick adaptation because of Marcos Alonso and Kepa (helping with translation), so this was very easy and smooth in welcoming him to the group.
“So he’s in the squad and we will have to see with Jorginho tomorrow if it makes sense that we put another 90 minutes into him – because Jorginho can never say no.
“When Italy calls, he can never say no so. Even when they’re 5-0 up, he still wants every ball and runs, so he’s quite tired, so it’s absolutely possible Saul plays for us because he has the quality and the expertise and experience.”
Tuchel discussed his desire to add further midfield reinforcements with Saul joining an embarassment of riches at Chelsea alongside the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
The German insists it was important to add further depth given the vast number of games this season and says the opportunity to sign Saul – on Chelsea’s radar for ‘some time’ – was too good to turn down.
“I was a bit concerned to go into the season with only Jorginho, N’Golo and Mateo – not because of a lack of quality or character, because I’m the happiest coach I can be to have these three guys.
“But it’s a bit unpredictable, we have a Club World Cup to play in December and nobody knows exactly how many games there are to come.
“Normally two of those three guys always play, so once you have one injured or suspended you already are in danger of overloading the others.
“We were looking for alternatives – not desperately, but Saul was on the radar for Chelsea for many, many years.
“I’d known the player for a long time and was fighting with other clubs for the player in the past, and it was never possible.
“So when the situation came that it was possible for a loan, we were excited about it.”