The Saul Niguez transfer condition that impacts Chelsea's pursuit of Declan Rice

By Danyal Khan

Chelsea will reportedly sign current loanee Saul Niguez if he impresses during his loan stint in west London which could mean that the Blues shift their focus away from Declan Rice in the next summer transfer window.

Saul, 26, has been at Cobham over the international break preparing for a potential debut outing against Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend.

The Spaniard signed on an initial season-long loan from boyhood club Atletico Madrid after falling down the pecking order under Diego Simeone.

Consequently, it had been revealed by Atletico's president Enrique Cerezo that the two-time Europa League winner wanted a new challenge and this is where the Blues came into the equation.

Cerezo told Spanish outlet Onda Cero: "Saúl wanted to leave. We accepted as it was his desire [to join Chelsea]. I wasn’t in panic in the final minutes - Saúl deal was completed around 11.57 pm and we signed Griezmann as we wanted”.

West Ham midfielder Rice comes into this equation because the £100m valuation put on their defensive midfielder from the Hammers pushed Marina Granovskaia to move towards the Saul signing.

It was initially reported that the west Londoners would revisit their interest in the Euro 2020 star next summer, with Mason Mount's best friend eager to make the switch across London, but the latest conditions may mean this is no longer possible.

The London Evening Standard are reporting that Chelsea will sign the 26-year-old on a permanent transfer this season if he can continue his fine form this season.

football.london amongst others understand that Granovksaia and co. successfully negotiated an option to buy in the deal which adds up to around £30million.

If Marcos Alonso's words are anything to go by then we are likely to see this option taken up by the board, just as it was for the Mateo Kovacic transfer which had many parallels to this Saul deal.

He told the Chelsea FC official website: "I know Saul from the national team, and also we shared a manager when we were in the Real Madrid academy.

"He's a great player. His conditions are going to be good for the Premier League. He is strong physically, he is very good in the air."

Alonso then added: "He is ready to kick off and hopefully we can take advantage of his qualities and he will be of great help to the team, because it's going to be a long year, with a lot of competitions."

Thomas Tuchel also gave his Saul verdict in his press conference on Friday ahead of Aston Villa: "When it was possible to have a loan, we were excited. He was the type of profile we need to give Jorginho and N'Golo the break they need."

This transfer condition could ruin the long-term plan to bring ex-academy player Rice back to Stamford Bridge. although there are mitigating factors that also suggest otherwise.

If one of Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, or Mateo Kovacic was to be sold next summer, then this could open up a place in the squad roster for Rice, who could still end up joining even if the club decide to activate the permanent clause in Saul's contract come the end of the season.


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