Glen Johnson agrees with Gary Neville on Saul Niguez’s Chelsea promise after a late season-long loan deal was confirmed by the club on deadline day.
Saul, 26, joins an elite group of Blues midfielders that include the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, and Mateo Kovacic in the same position that the Spaniard will be competing for.
football.london understands that Thomas Tuchel coupled with Saul himself were the driving forces in trying to get the transfer over the line despite the initial deadlock in talks between the clubs.
Atletico Madrid wanted an obligation to buy in the deal, whilst Marina Granovskaia only asked for an option which was the end result after long negotiations.
It is understood that the west Londoners have a £35million option to buy Saul at the end of the initial loan period, which is similar to the deal to being Kovacic to Stamford Bridge a few years ago.
The 26-year-old is excited to work under the German Champions League-winning manager as the Spanish international got his first taste of the Tuchel training regime on September 1.
He told Chelsea FC TV: “Very happy. Kepa always speaks really well about him. His teams always deliver and get great results.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing for me, personally. I’m really nervous, I’m looking forward to training with my new teammates, despite the international break.
“I hope they are back soon. I’m looking forward to welcoming them, very excited.”
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the usefulness of this deal from a Chelsea perspective, especially considering the three top-class options in the ranks but former Blues defender Glen Johnson believes that the midfielder will be one of the top options if he is given a chance to impress.
He told bettingodds.com: “If you get a chance to sign a player of his calibre then you’re going to. He’s not going to turn up from Atletico Madrid to be told that he’s the third or fourth choice central midfielder. He’s obviously been told that he’s going to get plenty of opportunities to play and I believe that he will play in a slightly further forward position than N’Golo Kante.
“We’ve seen from Tuchel before that he will pick the personnel that he thinks is best suited to win a specific game, so not many players are guaranteed to start every single game. He really thinks about the opponents and where their certain weaknesses are before building his team around them.
“If Saúl is given his opportunity soon and he puts in a few impressive performances then I believe he will nail down his spot.”
Similarly, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has been very impressed with Granovskaia’s ability to sign a player of this magnitude on deadline day to add to the excellent Romelu Lukaku signing.
“If you look at what they have done in this transfer window in terms of ins and outs, it’s been another exemplary performance from them in terms of what they do,” Neville said to Sky Sports.
“They are a strong team – I’ve watched them twice already away at Arsenal and at Anfield, and that’s a really good team.
“It’s a team that wins and is likely to win more.
“You just look at them and when they went down to 10 men on Saturday night, I never really thought that it was going to be easy for Liverpool to break them down.
“That’s when you know that you are playing against a great team – it’s the toughest place to play in the Premier League.
“And the addition of Saul alongside Lukaku makes them stronger and stronger.
“The midfielder with Jorginho, Kante, and Kovacic was already really strong – they only needed two in there for the way they play.
“But what it means is that they can challenge on all fronts.
“When you think of Chelsea wanting to win the league and the Champions League, you do need four for those two positions.
“You need to make sure that Jorginho isn’t playing every single week, so from that point of view, I think it’s a really good signing and it strengthens them enormously.
“It makes them, to me, more formidable than they already were last Saturday.”
If Johnson’s prediction is to come true, then the Aston Villa game straight after the international break on September 11 could prove a crucial match for Saul to impress and therefore take up his opportunity to climb up the midfield pecking order in SW6.
Source by Football London