And now the 21-year-old himself has revealed he never intended to leave the Premier League champions. Having featured 25 times in their treble winning 2022/23 campaign, mostly as a substitute, he claims he asked the manager if he could go out on a season-long deal with a view to returning and fighting for a first-team place.
Guardiola it seems, notorious for not being afraid to sell a player who has crossed him, was having none of it. “Initially I didn’t want to leave,” said Palmer, in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“I said I would go on loan and play for a year so I was ready for first team football more because I didn’t play a lot of minutes (last season). But then Pep said ‘you’re either staying or you’re getting sold’ and, so yeah, I just got sold.”
Palmer has since become a bright spot in Chelsea’s otherwise erratic season. He’s scored eight times in the Premier League, according a last-minute leveller in a thrilling 4-4 with his former club.
And he admits that while he’s still mystified at Guardiola’s refusal to negotiate, he’s now glad he’s made the move: “I was a bit confused why they wouldn’t let me go on loan, but I said I wanted to go to Chelsea and I’m glad it’s turned out the way it has.”
Palmer’s first four goals for Chelsea all came from the spot, but his impact in royal blue came to the fore in their last game of 2023. He scored twice in the 3-2 win at Luton, the second of which came after a skilful ball-roll as he skipped past the keeper before finishing, a strike which earned him the Premier League Goal of the Month award.
Having already been capped twice for England, comparisons been Palmer and a host of former world-class players have been frequent. And the player himself is seemingly unfazed by the hype.
“It’s high praise, those players who are mentioned,” he said. “Obviously world class players. Hopefully I can get to near their level and it will be a good career.”