Chelsea will decline the £34m option to make Saul Niguez’s stay at Stamford Bridge permanent if their ‘priority target’ is available for £70m, according to a report.
The Spanish international, 26, was one of the final deals completed on transfer deadline day. His deal was left so late, in fact, that Saul recently admitted he thought his switch could collapse like David de Gea’s to Real Madrid in 2015.
Whether Saul will be able to break into Thomas Tuchel’s starting eleven on a regular basis remains to be seen. The German already has proven performers N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho at his disposal.
Nonetheless, Saul will be hoping to make an impact and force Chelsea into a difficult decision regarding his permanent option.
The West Ham talisman has long been on the radar of Chelsea after leaving their youth set-up in 2014.
Rice has gone from strength to strength in recent seasons. He became a regular starter for England in a superb pairing with Kalvin Phillips. That came after helping guide West Ham to their second highest Premier League finish last year (sixth).
The Hammers are understandably keen to retain Rice’s services, though recent reports have indicated a sale may become inevitable.
With both Chelsea and Man Utd targeting the midfielder, the Telegraph reported Rice will reject any new contract offers put to him by West Ham.
David Moyes previously stated Rice would be worth upwards of £100m. However, their bargaining power would be reduced if Rice holds out over a new deal.
That could alert Chelsea. And Caught Offside (citing Spanish outlet Don Balon) claim Rice being available for a reduced figure of £70m would see the Blues decline Saul’s option in favour of pursuing the Englishman.
Chelsea bluntly told why Kounde didn’t sign
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been told in no uncertain terms why their pursuit of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde failed.
The Blues chased the signature of the 22-year-old Frenchman for much of the summer window. Kurt Zouma’s late exit to West Ham was expected to see Chelsea ramp up their efforts in the final days. However, when the window finally slammed shut, Kounde remained in Seville.
A recent report suggested Roman Abramovich has set aside a hefty sum to complete their unfinished business with Kounde in the winter window.
Nevertheless, at least until January, Thomas Tuchel will have to make do with the options at his disposal.
Now, Sevilla boss Julien Lopetegui has revealed the true reason a deal failed to materialise. He stated Chelsea’s inability to match Sevilla’s demands was indeed at the heart of the issue.
Via Fabrizio Romano, Lopetegui bluntly declared: “Koundé didn’t join Chelsea because our Sevilla board decided it was the right thing to do, based on the value of the offers. For me it’s positive – he’ll perform again at top level”
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