Saul Niguez makes 'difficult' Chelsea demand to Thomas Tuchel amid £30m transfer question


Chelsea midfielder Saul Niguez has offered Thomas Tuchel some 'easy' advice as the Spaniard looks for more playing time amid a slow start to his Blues career. Saul, 27, had a poor beginning to the 2021/22 season, being hooked at half-time in his debut and culminating in an error-prone cameo against Everton during the festive schedule.

However, his latest performances against Wolves, Brentford and Tottenham in different competitions have eased fears that he wouldn't be suitable to English football, with manager Tuchel admitting his admiration for the midfielder after having to respond to his critics at the time.

"Yeah he is, he is," Tuchel replied ahead of the Tottenham Carabao Cup second leg when asked if the midfielder was starting to find his feet in the capital. "He is happier and freer in training, I see it every day. He played better when he came on against Wolverhampton, he already had a good impact so he is stepping up and stepping out.

"I was so happy when I saw him on the sideline for the second goal in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, he was totally committed and it was very impressive to see him like this.

"So, it is an important moment for him and I have the feeling he digested the experiences in the beginning where maybe he didn’t expect it like this. He is not the first player to struggle from the switch, what he does is good because he is open and fully focussed, totally committed to the team."

Despite mixed performances, it could be argued that the 27-year-old isn't getting enough regular minutes to justify his £30million price-tag, should the Blues wish to turn his loan move permanent. It is something Saul wants corrected, if Tuchel is able to make the 'difficult' call to drop one of N'Golo Kante,Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic.

The Spaniard said in Chelsea's 10 questions feature: "Personally, I would like to have played more but I also understand that this team won the Champions League last season so it is difficult to get into the team. I feel good and every day I’m feeling better and prepared for when the head coach needs me."

Saul has only featured in a total of 481 minutes so far in this campaign, which includes his brief start to 2021/22 at Atletico (201 La Liga minutes) before moving to west London, as per , demonstrating just how difficult it may have been to acclimatise to a completely different environment.

"The beginning wasn’t easy for me," he said. "I have changed my whole life, moving from Madrid, leaving Madrid with my family, changing language and culture, even the small things like driving on the other side of the road!

"Everything has changed - the stadium, team- mates, my whole life. The truth is it hasn’t been easy but I’m very grateful to my team-mates and the club for making it easier for me to adapt. My English is improving and everything is becoming a bit easier."

Saul added: "My family haven’t had it as easy as me because I leave the house to train and I spend time with my team-mates who I speak with, whereas my family are alone. They know we have to adapt but it’s not easy. The beginnings are always difficult but things do get better bit by bit.

"For me, I’m focused on playing football and understanding the ideas of the head coach above all. In my first match, I was a bit disorientated because I was used to doing things differently and it was a bit strange for me.

"I hadn’t had much time to train with my team- mates and when I first started many of them were away with their national teams so it was a difficult start but I want to say thank you to the Chelsea staff, who have always transmitted a sense of calm during this period of adaptation. I really want to show the player I am and repay their confidence in me." understands that at the moment, it is highly unlikely that Marina Granovskaia and co trigger the £30m buy option with Aurelien Tchouameni and Declan Rice on their midfielder wish list come the summer.

Coupled with this, Conor Gallagher's return to the squad at the end of this season means it's almost mission impossible at this point for Saul to change the mind of the Blues hierarchy and leave manager Tuchel with a big transfer question.

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