Chelsea have reportedly made the decision to not sign Saul Niguez on a permanent basis at the end of his loan spell.
The Spanish midfielder signed for the Blues on a temporary deal until the end of the campaign, having fallen out of favour under Diego Simeone at the Wanda Metropolitano.
A buy clause was negotiated into his Stamford Bridge contract, with Chelsea able to sign Saul permanently for a fee of £30m.
However, following a somewhat inconsistent period in west London, the Blues have decided not to activate that clause, according to the Daily Express.
With Chelsea not committing to a deal for the 27-year-old, this would likely open up fresh funds for the upcoming summer window for Thomas Tuchel and Marina Granovskaia as they aim to plug the gaps in the current squad
The Blues could potentially look to recruit a centre-back, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen all out of contract and now eligible to negotiate free transfers to a foreign club. A number of incoming options have already been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge including Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Wesley Fofana of Leicester City.
Whilst there is of course an obvious position for the Blues to pour their resources into, they could even surprise supporters by investing in a big money transfer – Erling Haaland being one of the high-profile names having been rumoured to be under consideration.
From the perspective of Saul though, he will be hoping to use the remainder of his spell with Chelsea in order to impress prospective buyers.
He turned in a very positive showing for the Blues in their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg victory against Tottenham Hotspur – and was then praised by Thomas Tuchel.
Following the game, the German said: “He [Saul] has digested his experiences here in the beginning, when he maybe did not expect it to be like this.
“Now he would certainly not be the first player to struggle with the switch to England. But he’s open, fully focused and totally committed to the team.
“I’m very happy he had a performance like that, which was a huge step forward.”
So far this season, Saul has made 15 appearances for Chelsea – only seven of those being starts.