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‘Saul Niguez’s Chelsea disaster is a warning to fans clamouring for big-name transfers’ – Brian Reade


The January transfer window serves as a reminder that what fans demand their club do is not always the smart move, with Saul Niguez’s situation at Chelsea the perfect example

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There are many cliches and myths attached to football’s twice-yearly transfer windows.

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They are always full of “on/off sagas”, “last-ditch bids” and “wantaway stars” who “hold clubs to ransom” as they issue “come-and-get-me pleas.” And the window always “slams shut.”

Among the myths are fans’ intimate knowledge of how much their club has in their “war chest” based purely on net spend at the last window, why so-and-so is worth buying as he’d “pay back the fee in shirt sales alone” and how they “need bodies” because reserve-wise “the cupboard’s bare.”

It’s why social media goes into overdrive with a certain type of fan demanding the signing of a player they’d never heard of until he was linked with their club by an Italian clickbait site, and whose YouTube highlights-package left them swooning.

A fan who sends abusive posts to the club for not delivering their wishes and replies to every tweet from football journalists with: “JUST ANNOUNCE BLAH-BLAH.”

Join the debate! Who should your club sign in January? Comment your picks below.

Saul has struggled to find his feet at Chelsea

But I’ll offer two words of warning to anyone imploring their club to bring in a big name, any big name, next month, just for the sake of it: Saul Niguez.

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The Spaniard was last summer’s red-hot transfer rumour, linked with most of the top sides, with social media hordes berating their clubs on a daily basis for not announcing him.

During a pre-season tour, a journalist asked a manager of one of those clubs if he was working to bring Saul in, and he laughed and replied: “He’s nowhere near our radar. If Atletico feel they need to get him off their payroll why should we be interested?

“I don’t know where this is coming from.”

On deadline day Chelsea paid a £4million loan fee with an option to buy the Spain international, much to the anger of some of the Saul disciples at other clubs. Until he became a resounding flop.

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Thomas Tuchel has only started him in two Premier League games and subbed him at half-time in both. After the last 45 minute hooking, against Watford two weeks ago, the Chelsea boss told reporters: “I don’t know where he goes from this performance.”

He did get a start in the Champions League, against Zenit St Petersburg last week, and once again had little effect. Provoking Twitter anger from a different angle.

Tuchel has been reluctant to use Saul of late

Take this post, from a site called Chelsea Stream TV, which showed a package of Saul’s best bits when he was with Atletico (no doubt the same one they showed four months earlier demanding Tuchel sign him) and asked: “Where is this Saul Niguez??” Insert your own laugh emojis.

The question that really needs to be asked is why Chelsea bothered to bring in a midfielder who last played for Spain two years ago and who Atletico were keen to offload, when they already had two midfield gems in Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher?

Especially when Gilmour had proven that he could fit neatly into the defensive slot Saul was brought in to fill.

Have your say! How should Chelsea line up against Everton? Pick your team below.

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And Gallagher is smashing it so much at Crystal Palace there are claims Chelsea wanted to bring him back next month, but the amount of game time he’s had rules that out.

There are certain Premier League clubs in dire need of new faces, such as Everton, Newcastle and West Ham.

But pressure will still come from fans of teams who don’t need to speculate in a dodgy transfer window, that they need to “splash the cash” based on the consistently-disproven myth that a club that doesn’t buy sexy names for the sake of it is “moving backwards.”

Be careful what you wish for, YouTube scouts.

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