Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez joins Chelsea

Chelsea have completed a last-ditch deadline day deal to take Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid until the end of the season.

The Champions League winners will pay an initial loan fee of around £3.4m and have the option to buy the 26-year-old midfielder outright for £30m (€35m) in 12 months’ time.

Thomas Tuchel had been intent on strengthening his midfield options to boost Chelsea’s title hopes for the season ahead and Saul adds yet more quality to a squad already boasting the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount.

The Spain international is one of just two new senior players through the doors at Stamford Bridge this summer, following Romelu Lukaku’s club-record £97.5m transfer from Inter Milan last month.

Saul slipped down the pecking order under Diego Simeone as Atleti won La Liga for the first time since 2014 last term and all parties were in agreement over a switch to west London.

Chelsea supporters were made to wait for confirmation of Saul’s temporary move and an official announcement did not arrive until just before midnight, with clubs given an hour after the deadline to lodge all of the necessary paperwork.

‘I am very excited to start this new challenge with Chelsea,’ Saul told Chelsea’s website.

‘Blues fans, I am one of you now and I can’t wait to wear the shirt, start training and see all of you. See you soon!’

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Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia is confident the club have added a ‘proven winner’ to their ranks and believes the midfielder has all the attributes to help the club achieve their goals this season.

‘We welcome Saul to the club and believe he completes our squad as we compete for honours in five different competitions this season,’ she said.

‘He is a proven winner, a player with huge experience and we know he will be very well-suited to the challenges that face us on all fronts in the coming year.’

The Spaniard is yet to leave Madrid but will be expected to fly to London over the coming 48 hours.

Saul has scored 43 goals in 340 appearances across his decade-long spell in Atleti’s first-team since graduating from the academy ranks.

In that time, the midfielder has helped his boyhood club win two Europa League trophies, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and last year’s La Liga title.

Saul will hope a successful loan spell at Chelsea leads to a return to the fold at international level with Spain, with Luis Enrique leaving him out of his squad for this summer’s European Championships.