Chelsea outcast Saul Niguez wanted by new Barcelona boss Xavi in January with Atletico Madrid considering loan recall

BARCELONA boss Xavi is reportedly keen to bring Saul Niguez to the Nou Camp – with Atletico Madrid considering recalling him from Chelsea.

According to El Chiringuito, the new Barca manager is keen to bolster his midfield and Saul, 26, will be available in January his Chelsea loan is terminated early.

The 19-cap Spain international left to join the Blues in a deadline day loan move, but his spell in West London has been nothing short of disastrous so far.

Chelsea paid a £4.3m loan fee to sign Saul, with the option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season for £35m.

But he has started only once in the Premier League so far and was hooked at half-time after a nightmare first-half display in a 3-0 win against Aston Villa.

He has only played two minutes in the league since then, coming on for the very end of the Blues' 3-0 win over Newcastle last month.

Speaking to Sky Sports after Saul's hellish debut against Aston Villa, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said: "I had the feeling that he struggled.

"There were some big mistakes, passing mistakes, and he struggled with the intensity. You could see he isn’t fully adapted."


Saul has been benched for seven league games for Chelsea, with fellow outcasts Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley nudging ahead in the pecking order.

A Spanish source also recently told SunSport: “This is not quite what Saul was expecting. He is not stupid and doesn’t think he should play in every game.

"He knows it might take time to get used to English football. But when he hardly plays in the Premier League, how can he adapt?

"He has come from a big club and has played in big games before. He wants to show he can handle it. 

“He is not angry, he is happy in London. But he would like the chance to play a bit more. Being on the bench so much has come as quite a surprise.

"Saul is also understandably thinking about his place in the Spain squad. These things are important.”

Barca are thought to be keen to take-on Saul's season-long loan in January, and reports suggest Chelsea will not fight to keep him if he is recalled.

But according to reports in Spain, the main stumbling block for the deal would be the Atletico board's reluctance to strengthen a rival team midseason.

Saul came through the Atletico academy after joining from local rivals Real Madrid in 2008 and went on to make 230 league appearances for the club.

He featured 33 times as they won La Liga last season for the first time since 2014, beating Real Madrid by just two points.

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