Chelsea are readying a fresh move for Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni in January and are considering sending summer loan signing Saul back to Atletico Madrid, 90min understands.
The Blues held talks with Monaco over Tchouameni in the summer, and even considered buying him and loaning him straight back to Stade Louis II before opting to bring in Saul.
Chelsea wanted to wait and see on Tchouameni's progress while keeping close tabs on him – but that decision could cost them as the 22-year-old has since emerged as a key player for the France national team.
Just over £30m would have seen a deal finalised in the summer of 2021, but that is no longer the case as it is believed the Principality outfit want around £50m for the young midfielder.
Chelsea are open to doing a deal in January which could see Tchouameni remain at Monaco until the summer - similar to when they captured Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in 2019 - although they would also look at a deal that would see him arrive at Stamford Bridge immediately.
Monaco are gearing up to lose Tchouameni in 2022, but he won’t come cheap as their English sporting director Paul Mitchell recently explained.
"He is a complete midfielder, very fast and physically strong, he reminds me of Steven Gerrard. He is already a top player despite being only 22, but if we want to become a top club, then we should not sell him,” he told Tuttosport.
"We are an ambitious club. Everyone from president Rybolovlev to coach Niko Kovac is ambitious here.
"However, we’ll assess the situation at the end of the season. The player is under contract until 2024 and his transfer value is the one of a top player.
"Everything is expensive in Monte Carlo, let’s say that Tchouameni is as expensive as the Grand Casino."
Despite increased interest from across Europe, Chelsea very much remain in pole position to land Tchouameni. Sources with knowledge of the situation have told us that confidence is high that he will be moving to Stamford Bridge in 2022.
One person's future at Stamford Bridge remains entirely up-in-the-air is the aforementioned Saul – whose loan move from Atletico Madrid has been hugely disappointing thus far.
The Spain international has started just two league games for the Blues - as many as he has started for Atletico this season.
Chelsea are now considering whether to cut short the deal and it is believed talks have taken place with his representatives and Atletico.
However, one issue is that because Saul has already appeared for two clubs this season, meaning he can’t return and then move elsewhere this campaign. So unless Atletico want him and plan to use him for their own needs, he may well remain at Chelsea.