Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Blues player ratings
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Chelsea have given Saul Niguez the number 17 shirt for the season ahead after he completed a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid on deadline day. Saul has followed in the footsteps of a few notable names who have previously worn the shirt, including Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
Saul wore number 17 in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons at Atletico after breaking into the team as a 20-year-old.
The Spaniard switched to number eight in 2016, which Mateo Kovacic has done at Chelsea this summer after three seasons representing 17.
Before Kovacic, attackers primarily wore the shirt, including Charly Musonda Jr., Pedro and Salah.
Most notably, Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s number 17 from 2012 to 2014 before becoming the club’s number 10.
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On Thursday, Saul sat down for his first interview after joining Chelsea and expressed his delight in being at the club.
In explaining his style of play, he may have hinted that fans can expect to see him contributing to the attack like Hazard and Salah.
“I am so happy to be here. It was a great opportunity for myself and my career. I had to take the chance,” Saul told the official club website.
“I am very happy, very excited, really looking forward to training tomorrow and to start working with my coach.”
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“About the fans, I am really grateful. I’ve received tons of positive messages from them so thank you very much. I’ll give it all for this club.
“I am a team player. I always play for the team. I could define myself as a box-to-box midfielder.
“I like joining the attack and scoring goals but also defending when needed.
“I think it’s really important for me in order to feel comfortable in the pitch and to deliver for Chelsea.”
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Saul will likely be in Thomas Tuchel’s midfield plans, meaning he’ll be battling three other top-class players for a starting spot.
Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Kovacic are currently battling for the two central midfield spots in Tuchel’s 3-4-3, so Saul will only add to the competition.
The 26-year-old has experience playing in an attacking role on the wing in Spain, so he could also fit in at left-wing or even left-wing-back.
He’s undoubtedly an exciting arrival in west London as Tuchel looks to add a Premier League title to his growing silverware collection.
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