Cole Palmer says he never wanted to leave Manchester City, but the forward feels vindicated in his choice of club after making an impressive start to life at Chelsea.
Palmer struggled for regular minutes at the Etihad Stadium before making a deadline-day move to Chelsea in September, with 18 of his 25 appearances for the treble winners last season coming from the bench.
He has found game-time much easier to come by in west London, starting 16 times across all competitions this term and recording 15 goal involvements (eight goals, seven assists).
Perhaps the most noteworthy of his eight goals for the Blues to date came against City in November, with Palmer netting a 95th-minute penalty as the teams played out a thrilling 4-4 Premier League draw.
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While Palmer says his initial aim for 2023-24 was to find a loan move before returning to City, he is delighted with how his switch to Stamford Bridge has worked out.
“My thing was to never leave City,” Palmer told Sky Sports ahead of Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough.
“That was not my intention. I wanted to go on loan for a year, come back and be ready for the first team. But they said I couldn’t go on loan, either stay or you get sold.
“So then, Chelsea rang me. I said I wanted to go to Chelsea and I’m really happy to be here. I’m very glad I made the decision to come here.
“I wanted to get into the team, play and show what I can do. To get in the team straight away and hit the ground running has surprised me, to be fair.”
Palmer has become a key part of Mauricio Pochettino’s new-look Chelsea team, with the Argentine looking to integrate several young recruits after the Blues spent over £1billion on signings in their first three transfer windows under the Todd Boehly regime.
The 21-year-old has been particularly impressed by Pochettino’s man-management skills, saying: “I’ve noticed that he’s the same with everyone… the cooks, the physios, us.
“He asks you questions and he’s genuinely interested. It’s brilliant.”