Chelsea v Burnley: Match in Pictures
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Marina Granovskaia’s transfer regret is now clear as Chelsea line up a January move to replace a summer signing who has flopped badly. The Blues made only three signings in the summer window, bringing in Saul Niguez, Marcus Bettinelli and Romelu Lukaku.
But Saul has struggled badly to fit in at Stamford Bridge and remains behind N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in Thomas Tuchel’s pecking order.
There were high hopes for the midfielder when he arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid, boosting an area of the squad that seemed light on options.
Those hopes were quickly dashed though, with Saul being hauled off at half-time of his debut, with Tuchel left feeling he needed more time to adapt to Premier League football.
He has played just two more minutes of top-flight football since that game against Aston Villa, otherwise being left on the bench by the Blues boss.
The majority of his game time has instead come in the Carabao Cup, as he started both of the penalty shoot-out wins over Villa and Southampton.
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Following that game, Tuchel hinted that he was happy with the progress Saul had shown in that cup clash.
“A huge step in the right direction for him. I am happy. We thought maybe he would be struggling with the intensity at the 70th minute but he got better and better, had chances and shots,” he said.
“We thought let’s keep him and give him the minutes. It was a good step for him.”
Despite that, the Spaniard has continued to struggle to break his way into Tuchel’s plans and it appears that Granovskaia is ready to give up on the midfielder.
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According to Calciomercato.it, Chelsea are now ‘seriously thinking’ about bringing in Adrien Rabiot from Juventus.
That would see the Frenchman come in as a ‘substitute’ for Saul, who would likely be sent back to Atletico.
Rabiot has been a regular starter under returning manager Massimiliano Allegri, with only injuries keeping him out of the side.
But the 26-year-old will enter the final year of his contract at the end of this season, meaning Juventus are on a ticking clock to sell him if he will not sign a new deal.
Tuchel made signing a central midfielder a priority when he replaced Frank Lampard, but Granovskaia may need to make a second attempt to boost their options in that position.
But if Chelsea are to make a push to sign Rabiot in January, they will be going up against Newcastle United in a battle for his signature.
The Magpies have been heavily linked with the midfielder as they seek to improve Eddie Howe’s squad.
Chelsea may have the advantage though, with the ‘confusing situation’ at St James’ Park slowing down their transfer plans.
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