Chelsea’s Cole Palmer has revealed he planned to remain at boyhood club Manchester City and go on loan this season before being told his only options were to stay or leave permanently.
The 21-year-old completed a surprise £40m transfer from the Etihad Stadium to Stamford Bridge on Deadline Day last summer and is relishing life in his new surroundings.
Palmer has proved one of the signings of the season, instantly becoming a key player for Mauricio Pochettino and contributing eight goals and four assists in 16 Premier League appearances.
His performances have been a major positive in a difficult campaign for the Blues and helped him break into the Gareth Southgate’s England side.
But he admits his permanent exit from City, where he only started three Premier League games having come through their youth academy, was not planned.
“My thing was to never leave City,” he told Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
“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.”
My thing was to never leave City. That was not my intention. I wanted to go on loan for a year, come back and be ready for the first team
Pochettino’s ‘brilliant’ man-management
Palmer has received high praise from Chelsea boss Pochettino, who recently said he has the potential to reach the level of former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward Angel Di Maria.
“What a player,” Palmer said of the comparison. “Obviously, it’s high praise, but I’m a long way away from it.”
Palmer has already struck up a close bond with Pochettino and has been left impressed by the Argentine’s man-management skills.
“I’ve noticed about him that with everyone he’s the same, the cooks, the physios, us [the players],” he said.
“He asks you questions and he’s genuinely interested. It’s brilliant.”
Palmer now hopes to help Chelsea win a place in the Carabao Cup final but, having already produced a string of eye-catching displays, including a player-of-the-match showing in the 4-4 draw with City in November, he admits his start has already exceeded his expectations.
“I cant deny that,” he said. “I wanted to get into the team, play and show what I can do.
“But to get in the team straight away and hit the ground running has surprised me to be fair.”
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