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Thomas Tuchel faces Saul Niguez headache as Atletico president explains reason for transfer

Chelsea have enjoyed an extremely productive 2021.

Since German coach Thomas Tuchel took over the managerial reigns from Frank Lampard back in January, things have gone swimmingly for the Blues.

The west London club pipped Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City to fourth place in the Premier League before defeating the odds to win the UEFA Champions League for the second time in the club’s history, with German playmaker Kai Havertz netting the only goal in May’s final against Manchester City.

Transfer chief Marina Granovskaia knew that one of the pieces missing from the Blues’ stacked squad was an elite centre-forward, so she targeted Belgian frontman Romelu Lukaku, who joined the club last month for a club-record £97.5million.

With talented midfielder Billy Gilmour deciding to test himself on loan at Norwich City this term, Chelsea needed to sign a replacement, opting to sign Spanish maestro Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on loan in the final hours of Tuesday’s transfer deadline day.

However, Atletico’s club president Enrique Cerezo has sent Tuchel a warning by claiming that the 26-year-old left the Wanda Metropolitano because he wasn’t being deployed in his favoured box-to-box midfield role.

“Saul was not very satisfied in the position in which he was playing and has decided to leave. Wherever he goes he will be a great player and much loved by Atlético de Madrid,” Cerezo told El Larguero.

Niguez was often utilised as a wing-back by Atletico head coach Diego Simeone, a role that Tuchel has occasionally fielded Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi in when Reece James has been unavailable.

Now, James is set to be unavailable for the Blues’ clash against Aston Villa on September 11 after the English international received a red card for handling the ball on the goal line at Anfield last week, meaning Niguez may be tasked to play in his place if Cesar Azpilicueta is deployed as a centre-back again.

Tuchel will be hoping the Spanish playmaker proves Cerezo wrong and is happy to play wherever he is asked to this season, especially when you consider Jorginho and N’golo Kante are extremely likely to be first-choice options for the midfield pivot when fully fit

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