New Chelsea man Saul Niguez will follow the footsteps of former Chelsea players Eden Hazard and Mohamed Salah by picking the shirt number #17 this season. The Spanish midfielder has moved on a season long loan from Atletico Madrid and Chelsea have the option to make the deal a permanent one after the current season. Saul has taken the number from Matteo Kovacic, who is now Chelsea’s #8.
“The Spanish midfielder moved to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in a one-year loan from Atletico Madrid, with an option to make the move permanent next summer”, a statement on the website of Chelsea read. “He will play for Chelsea with the No 17 on his back, the same squad number he wore for Atletico during his first two campaigns as a regular there, after breaking into their senior team as a 20-year-old, in 2014-15 and 2015-16.”
“That means his Blues debut will be his first match in that number since the 2016 Champions League final between Atletico and their city rivals Real Madrid. The most recent player to wear that number for Chelsea was Mateo Kovacic, another midfielder who initially arrived on loan at the Bridge from a Madrid-based club, in his case Real. The Croatian wore it for three seasons before switching to the No 8 for us this season, just as Saul did for Atletico in 2016.”
“Saul will become the third Spaniard to take that squad number for Chelsea, as it was also worn by Pedro during his first season at Stamford Bridge, having previously belonged to right-back Albert Ferrer from 1998 to 2001.” Chelsea fans will have to be patient before they will be able to see Saul in action as the Blues will play their next match after the international break on September 11th against Aston Villa.