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Simeone offers Saúl update following Villarreal draw

Saúl has been keen on leaving Atlético, but Chelsea’s offer has not convinced.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Diego Simeone briefly discussed Saúl Ñiguez’s situation on Sunday night after Atlético Madrid drew with Villarreal at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The Argentine is obviously keen on keeping the central midfielder, but admitted anything can happen in the final days of the transfer market.

“We spoke with him again,” he said after the game when asked about whether the player would stay. “He knows how I feel and what I think. There’s not much else to say. He has played since we arrived (in 2011). But from now until Tuesday, we are aware that anything can happen.”

Chelsea have a couple of ongoing negotiations, with Sevilla defender Jules Koundé also an option (though that move now appears unlikely). The Blues invested heavily in their squad this summer with Romelu Lukaku serving as the big arrival, but Thomas Tuchel has decided that he would like another midfielder, too.

Atletico Madrid v Elche - LaLiga Santander Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

According to several outlets, Chelsea want a loan for Saúl, but Atlético want a deal that would make buying the 26-year-old compulsory. Chelsea have offered to take on Saúl’s wages too, but want an option to buy rather than an obligation.

Saúl was inclined to look for a new challenge this summer after suffering from a lack of confidence last season under Simeone, but it’s unclear how keen he would be on competing for minutes at Stamford Bridge

Simeone, the manager who brought Saúl into the fold and turned him into one of the most exciting midfielders in the world, said at the start of the transfer window that he was keen to keep the player because of his versatility and what he can offer Atlético.

With Rodrigo De Paul’s arrival and the pandemic still heavily impacting finances, Atlético have been aware that departures might be necessary — but as of now, with a little over 24 hours remaining until the window shuts, the core of last year’s title winners remains intact.