Chelsea transfer news: Summer decision the only reason Pochettino hasn’t been sacked

Cameron Smith
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, 2023/24

Cole Palmer has arguably been Chelsea’s best signing since N’Golo Kante’s arrival in 2016.

The England international has 14 goals and 12 assists in 25 games so far this season, following his €47 million move from Manchester City last summer, and has been a one-man attack at times.

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He arrived with few expectations and a large transfer fee, but he is now seen as Chelsea’s most crucial forward and one of their most intelligent pieces of business in recent memory.

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Palmer was an unheralded talent under Pep Guardiola at Man City, afforded very few chances in the first-team, despite impressing during his limited game time.

Chelsea have been far from perfect this season, but Mauricio Pochettino has Palmer to thank for why he hasn’t been sacked by the Blues.

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Chelsea without Cole Palmer

The argument that Chelsea would be a certain number of points worse off without Palmer is a slightly arbitrary one given someone else would replace him in the starting XI if he had remained at Man City, but it’s worth considering where the Blues would be without the Englishman.

With Palmer’s 19 goal contributions in the Premier League removed from the equation, Chelsea would’ve amassed just 24 points, enough for 17th place in the table. They also would have faced extra-time and potentially penalties against Brighton in the Carabao Cup third round and the same would have happened against Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Without multiple trips to Wembley and an even lower league position, Pochettino would almost certainly have been sacked by now.

Chelsea fans have already vigorously called for his head and if things were any worse, he may well have been dismissed, despite the fact there is clearly a long-term project in play at Stamford Bridge.

The decision to sign Palmer has therefore saved Pochettino, especially considering Chelsea were also interested in signing Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez before they settled on the England international.

That is according to Fabrizio Romano, who recently reported: “What I’ve heard on that is that Chelsea were just calling to understand the situation of Darwin Nunez at Liverpool in the final two weeks of August.

“In those days, Chelsea enquired over many strikers around Europe, not just Nunez. They were looking for a solution and they decided to go for Cole Palmer, which was a fantastic call by the club. He’s a different kind of player, obviously, compared to Darwin Nunez.”

If Chelsea had signed Nunez instead of Palmer, they’d be far worse off as a team and Pochettino would likely have been sacked. Nunez is a good player, but he relies on consistent service and that would be almost completely lacking at Chelsea without Palmer and the injured Reece James.

As a result, Pochettino will be counting his lucky stars that Palmer was selected as Chelsea’s marquee signing during the final days of the summer window.

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