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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel shown major transfer problem he needs to fix after Watford win


Thomas Tuchel may have already been sent back to the drawing board in his bid to improve Chelsea‘s midfield ranks ahead of next season. The Blues were on the lookout for additional cover in the middle of the park during the summer transfer window and eventually settled on a loan move for Atletico Madrid playmaker Saul Niguez.

The Spaniard arrived at Stamford Bridge to considerable fanfare after completing his deadline-day switch to west London at the eleventh hour.

Saul made 41 appearances in all competitions for Atletico last season, helping his side to clinch the La Liga title in dramatic fashion on the final day of the campaign.

However, he has struggled to replicate his usual form at Chelsea as he continues to get to grips with Premier League football.

The 27-year-old was substituted at half-time on his debut against Aston Villa earlier in the campaign and was subjected to the same fate on Wednesday evening.

He was given a rare start alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek against Watford at Vicarage Road following an injury to Jorginho before the match.

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However, the Atletico man was unable to stamp his authority on proceedings and was overwhelmed by the Hornets in the middle of the park.

Saul picked up a booking after just 16 minutes and only managed a pass completion rate of 78 per cent before he was hooked at the interval.

His lacklustre performance and subsequent withdrawal will do little to ease recent fears that his loan spell at Chelsea will be cut short when the January transfer window rolls around.

The Blues are said to have agreed an option to buy Saul for around £30million at the end of the season, but it seems as though such a move is now highly unlikely to take place.

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If the midfielder is eventually sent back to Spain ahead of next season, Chelsea would be left in need of a suitable replacement to provide cover for the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.

There could be a number of mid-season options for the Blues to pursue in time for the start of the following campaign, including a potential approach for AC Milan playmaker Franck Kessie.

Chelsea are said to be long-term admirers of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, but the 22-year-old is likely to cost upwards of £100m, with Kessie able to offer a cut-price alternative.

The 24-year-old, who will be a free agent in the summer as things stand, has been linked with plenty of clubs as of late and looks set to be on the move in the near future.

Kessie will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January if his contract situation is not resolved before the turn of the year.

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It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be tempted to chase the Ivorian midfielder, who could serve them well in their box-to-box role with his ability to contribute to attacks while keeping things tight in defence.

The Blues may also decide to try and tempt Milan into selling Kessie for a nominal fee in January if Saul is ultimately shipped back to his parent club.

It seems as though the latter does not have much of a future at Chelsea based on his recent performances for the Blues, suggesting that a mid-season exit could be a genuine possibility unless he can redeem himself this month.

Whatever happens in January, it will be crucially important for Tuchel to make the right decisions in order to stand the best chance of leading his side to Premier League glory for the first time since 2017 this season.





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