Saul Niguez thanks his Chelsea teammates for not letting him ‘collapse’ at the end of the loan spell
Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has had a loan to forget at Stamford Bridge after making just 10 Premier League appearances in the 2021/22 league season
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Saul Niguez has thanked his Chelsea team-mates after his difficult season-long loan spell at Stamford Bridge came to an end.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder spent last season with the Blues but fell short of expectations for Thomas Tuchel’s side, playing just 23 times and making just 10 Premier League outings throughout of the 2021/22 campaign.
Saul even had to play from his preferred position for some of his outings, but scored once for the club in an FA Cup win at Luton Town. Saul was in Chelsea’s squad for their FIFA Club World Cup triumph earlier this year, coming on as a substitute in the final win over Brazilian side Palmeiras in February, but ultimately his fate was been disappointing.
Saul posted a message to Chelsea fans and teammates in London following his exit as Tuchel’s side apparently did not choose to trigger the €35m ($29.9m) purchase option. sterling) in his loan agreement.
“Good morning blues, I am writing to say goodbye to you,” Saul posted on Instagram. “I would like to tell you what I felt during this adventure. Things didn’t start well at all. After a long time at home, changing everything was not easy. Gradually things got better.
“Everything in life is about improving and learning, and that’s what I took away from this adventure. I want to thank the club for trying to take care of every detail to make me feel at home. I would also like to give recognition to every worker, thank you. Thank you for growing this club.
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“Thank you to all the fans for supporting me through thick and thin. I will be eternally grateful. Thank you to all the staff for allowing me to win titles with the blue jersey. But above all, I wanted to thank my teammates. They were fundamental for me not to collapse. They helped me to continue to support the team and to live a calm and positive daily life. Thank you!”
Saul’s struggles began soon after he moved to London. He was substituted at half-time on his Chelsea debut in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa, with Tuchel criticizing the midfielder rather harshly for not being able to cope with the intensity of the match. English elite.
“We could see Saul struggling to adapt to the intensity, the instructions, the style of play and the intensity of the Premier League,” Tuchel told Sky Sports last September. “It was hard to do, I felt he was struggling. He made mistakes, passing mistakes and mistakes and struggled with intensity.
“You could see he was a perfect fit. It is entirely my responsibility. I thought maybe he could just jump in and play for us at this level, so I thought maybe it would be better to have Jorginho who has a better connection with Thiago. [Silva] to control the game a bit more there.
Things didn’t improve much over Christmas, with Saul’s appearance on the bench against Everton in December prompting further criticism, as Tuchel launched a fierce defense of the Spaniard despite admitting that he was “struggling”.
“Was he the first player to struggle in the Premier League? No and he won’t be the last,” Tuchel said. “We protect our players and I will always protect our players.” Tuchel heaped praise on Saul later in the campaign, hailing his “professionalism”, but it was clear the move didn’t go as hoped.
Saul isn’t the only member of last season’s Chelsea squad to feature in La Liga for the 2022/23 season after his return. Centre-back Antonio Rudiger has already confirmed his move to Real Madrid, signing a free transfer after failing to renew his contract at Stamford Bridge.
Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have also all been linked with summer outings at Barcelona in recent months.