Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Blues player ratings
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Chelsea completed a last-minute deal to take Saul Niguez to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day as they look to launch an assault on the Premier League title. Chelsea eventually got the deal over the line at the 11th hour after weeks of speculation.
Saul proved to be hot property during the transfer window and was heavily linked with a move to England, with Manchester United and Liverpool both apparently courting the player.
But it was Chelsea who finally signed the midfielder as transfer chief Marina Granovskaia pulled off a masterclass.
Saul’s Atletico Madrid release clause was set at £128million – but Granovskaia has spent nowhere near that figure to land her man.
The Spain international has joined Chelsea on an initial loan deal costing £4.2m, with the west London club having the option to then sign Saul on a permanent basis for £34.3m.
That means, Saul will cost Chelsea a total of just £38.5m – a massive £89.5m less than his release clause.
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It looks to be exceptional business for the Blues, who have already brought Romelu Lukaku back to the club and added Marcus Bettinelli to their goalkeeping department.
Lukaku cost Chelsea a club-record £97.5m and made an instant impact when he scored on his second debut for the club in his side’s 2-0 victory against Arsenal last month.
The deal to take Saul to Chelsea was announced 45 minutes after Tuesday’s deadline as club chiefs worked frantically to get the paperwork signed.
The 26-year-old, who had started all of Atletico’s opening three La Liga games, will now battle with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic for a place in the Chelsea midfield.
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After leaving Real Madrid as a youngster, Saul progressed through the Atletico youth set up and went on to make 340 first-team appearances during his time at the Metropolitano Stadium.
He struck 43 goals for Atletico and also enjoyed a loan spell with Rayo Vallecano during the 2013/14 campaign.
Saul has won 19 caps for his country but wasn’t part of this summer’s Euro 2020 squad.
Boss Thomas Tuchel is building a stellar squad in the capital and there will be genuine hopes that the Premier League trophy will be returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2017.
Chelsea look like the real deal and held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw last time out despite going down to 10 men on the stroke of half time.
Last season Tuchel led his side to Champions League glory less than four months after arriving at Stamford Bridge.
And the German boss will be hopeful of a smooth pathway to the knockout stages this time around after his side were drawn in Group H of the competition alongside Juventus, Zenit and Malmo.
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