Chelsea Confirm Saul Niguez’s Squad Number

Chelsea midfielder Saul Niguez will wear number 17 for the Blues this season during his loan from Atletico Madrid, which was finalised late on transfer deadline day.

The number 17 shirt, once worn by Eden Hazard between 2012 and 2014, became vacant over the summer when Mateo Kovacic swapped it for the number eight jersey he now wears.

Saul also has his own connection to 17, having worn it for two years when he broke into the Atletico first-team in 2014, including in the 2016 Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Other Chelsea players to have worn 17 at one time or another since squad numbers were introduced to the Premier League in 1993 include Pedro, Emmanuel Petit, Albert Ferrer, Jose Bosingwa, Nigel Spackman and Scott Minto.

Having not been called up Spain for this month’s international break, Saul left Madrid on Wednesday and was welcomed as he reported for duty at Chelsea for the first time later that evening.

Fans will hope that with nine days before the club’s next match, Saul will have enough time to settle in and get to know his new surroundings. Fitness shouldn’t be an issue because he started two of Atletico’s first three La Liga games of the season and appeared off the bench in the other.

It raises the possibility that Saul could make his Chelsea debut, whether as a starter or a substitute, when the Blues host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on 11 September. Failing that, they face Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League three days later, which may be a more favourable setting.

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