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Chelsea are making an incredible late attempt to sign Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid before the transfer deadline, according to reports. The Blues are still trying to complete business as the hours tick towards 11pm.
Romelu Lukaku still stands as the club’s only major signing of the window, completing a sensational £97.5million return to Stamford Bridge earlier this month.
Third choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli has also arrived to provide competition to Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arizzabalaga.
Chelsea have tried to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde but appear to keep hitting obstacles in the way of a deal. The Frenchman has a release clause of around £60m and the La Liga side want an offer close to that figure.
However, the West Londoners are apparently still chasing Atletico midfielder Saul.
Blues sporting director Marina Granovskaia is ‘actively working on’ a deal to bring the Spaniard to the club for a temporary spell, according to The Athletic.
Saul helped Diego Simeone’s side win the Spanish top-flight last season, finishing ahead of both Barcelona and rivals Real Madrid.
However, the 26-year-old has been strongly linked with a departure from the club whose academy he graduated.
Manchester United and Liverpool have both been credited with an interest in Saul but it appears that Chelsea have jumped to the front of the queue.
It is unclear where he would fit into Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3, with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic already competing for the two central midfield spots.
Tuchel promised not to make sweeping changes to his squad after he culminated an excellent five months in charge by winning the Champions League in May.
Lukaku is his only major signing and has performed well since his move from Inter Milan.
Tuchel said last week that he would be happy with his squad even if no further additions are made.
However, he insisted that he would welcome new arrivals because he has one of the smallest squads in the division. It remains to be seen if the club can complete a deal for Saul this evening.
“I am absolutely happy with our squad and the alternatives we have,” the German said after his side defeated Arsenal 10 days ago.
“It’s not too big a squad, we were missing Christian Pulisic today and that meant everybody else was in the squad.
“That means we maybe don’t have the biggest squad but that we have a very competitive squad in all positions.
“This, on one hand, is necessary because we play a lot of competitions and we play the World Club Cup in December.
“We also played very long last season and there was the Euros and Copa America.
“So if we want to compete we need this level. But at the same time, it’s also important we’re a strong group, this was maybe the key for the last half a year. We played with a strong bond and a great team spirit.
“This is a challenge for the team and for me to create this atmosphere again. And that everybody is ready to take hard decisions and keep pushing the team.
“If we do this we can achieve more than we have.”
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