Chelsea took Saúl Ñíguez on loan from Atlético Madrid just hours before the 2021 summer transfer window closed last August. As part of the agreement between the two clubs, the Blues retain an option to make his stay permanent after this season.

The midfielder wanted a move away from the La Liga winners in order to enjoy more playing time.

However, he hasn’t managed to achieve it at the west London club as the 27-year-old has been restricted to only two league starts and one more in the Champions League.

Earlier reports have indicated the Champions League winners are unlikely to make the Spaniard’s stay permanent. Despite struggling to enjoy more game time under Thomas Tuchel’s orders, the Atlético owned player continues to gather interest from Barcelona.

Sport now explain the Catalan club are ‘attentive’ to Saúl. It’s stated Xavi Hernández and Barca’s sporting leaders have ‘always liked’ him.

Saúl’s decision to join Chelsea on loan allowed Atlético side sign Antoine Griezmann on a loan deal from Barcelona. The deal includes an ‘obligatory clause’ to buy the Frenchman.

Diego Simeone’s side have not yet made a payment to buy Griezmann and the newspaper states Los Rojiblancos could use Saúl as a ‘bargaining chip’ in the summer.