Saul Niguez wants to rediscover his best form at Champions League holders Chelsea after his Atletico Madrid frustrations.
Saul will spend the 2021-22 season on loan at Stamford Bridge following Tuesday’s deadline-day move, with the Blues reportedly having the option to buy the Spain international for £30million after paying an initial loan fee of £5m.
The 26-year-old was part of Atletico’s title-winning side in LaLiga last season but found himself playing out of position under Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.
As he prepares for life at Stamford Bridge, Saul — also linked with Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool — is relishing the opportunity to start fresh in London.
He said: “The only negative was not playing in my position [at Atletico].
“I could not show what I would like. I had a block in my head that did not allow me to play in another role. Chelsea’s option was to leave my comfort zone. It won’t be easy to get into that team.”
A box-to-box midfielder, Saul is at his best operating in a central role, though his versatility and work-rate has often seen him deployed out wide by Simeone.
Saul made only 22 league starts last season, his lowest figure since 2014-15. This perhaps explains why he ranked only fourth in the Atleti squad for attempted tackles in the top tier, with 57.
But since August 2019, only Real Madrid’s Casemiro (190) had attempted more tackles by a midfielder than Saul (159) in LaLiga.
He added: “At Chelsea I will train in my position. Then we will see if I play. That is the biggest cause of my decision.
“I want to go to Chelsea, try the experience and then see what happens. I don’t want to think further. I want to go, compete and help Chelsea.
“Personally, I want to go back to being the Saul that I want to see. I don’t want to see the Saul that you’ve seen these last two years. I was very frustrated not being able to show people what I am capable of.”