Chelsea has been dealt a transfer setback that could jeopardize the sale of Saul Niguez to Atletico Madrid.

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Chelsea has been dealt a transfer setback that could jeopardize the sale of Saul Niguez to Atletico Madrid.

Saul Niguez has been identified as Chelsea’s last hope for signing a midfielder this summer.

Chelsea’s pursuit of Saul Niguez has been handed a major setback, as Atletico Madrid’s reported replacement for the leaving Spaniard now appears to be heading to Sporting Lisbon. Pablo Sarabia was rumored to be in talks with Atletico Madrid about a transfer from PSG, but his next move puts Chelsea’s deadline day in jeopardy.

After N’Golo Kante suffered his second ankle injury in a month against Liverpool, Thomas Tuchel is said to be looking for midfield reinforcements.

Declan Rice was regarded too pricey at £100 million, while Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco was considered, although he lacks top-level experience.

Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid has since been touted as the ideal candidate, albeit the Spanish club’s approval is contingent on a successor being found.

GFFN reported early on deadline day that PSG was in talks with Atleti over a season-long loan for Sarabia.

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However, a stumbling block arose fast when PSG insisted on a purchase obligation, while Atletico insisted on it staying an option.

Marca now claims that Sarabia is just ‘one step away’ from completing a move to Sporting Lisbon, potentially jeopardizing Chelsea’s quest for Saul.

Sarabia would be an ideal fit for last season’s Liga NOS champions, with the possibility of unlimited game time and Champions League football as he tries to secure a spot in Spain’s World Cup team.

Although his late U-turn complicates Chelsea’s chase of Saul, the Blues should not be distracted by too many other issues as the clock approaches 11 p.m.

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With a deal for Jules Kounde seeming improbable unless transfer chief Marina Granovskaia is willing to pay an exorbitant £68million, she can just wait for Saul to become available.

Chelsea would want a season-long loan with a buyout option, according to The Athletic.

However, unless Atletico finds a replacement before the deadline, the Blues may find themselves powerless in a precarious situation.

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