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Chelsea are planning to send Saul Niguez back to Atletico Madrid after just 239 minutes of action in five games.
The Spain international joined the Champions League winners on a season-long loan deal from Atleti in a deal that helped Diego Simeone bring Antoine Griezmann back to the Spanish capital.
It was hoped Saul would bring extra flair and creativity in midfield for Chelsea, who have the option to make the permanent.
But in his first start for the Blues, Saul was hauled off at half-time against Aston Villa and manager Thomas Tuchel said the player "had some big mistakes, passing mistakes and errors".
The 26-year-old's only other starts since have been in the Carabao Cup and incredibly, only third-choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli has fewer minutes than Saul for Chelsea this term.
MARCA say Chelsea's patience has run out with Saul and they are willing to cut their losses in January.
There is no word on whether a clause in the deal allows the loan to be terminated but Atleti are denying an early return.
Saul's lack of minutes has led to him being overlooked by Luis Enrique in his latest Spain squad.
According to The Sun, Saul is 'surprised' and his role at the moment is "not quite what he was expecting".
A Spanish source told the newspaper: "This is not quite what Saul was expecting. He is not stupid and doesn't think he should play in every game, he knows it might take time to get used to English football.
'But when he hardly plays in the Premier League, how can he adapt? He has come from a big club and has played in big games before. He wants to show he can handle it.
"He is not angry, he is happy in London, as is his girlfriend. They are determined to see out the move.
"But he would like the chance to play a bit more. Being on the bench so much has come as quite a surprise.
"Saul is also understandably thinking about his place in the Spain squad. These things are important."
Saul had a brief cameo in the 3-0 win over Newcastle on 30 October but was an unused substitute for the 1-1 draw with Burnley at the weekend.
Ross Barkley, who has worked his way into Tuchel's plans, was handed a start ahead of him in the fixture.
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