It's been a tumultuous few days for young Patrick Bamford, despite finally getting a bit of meaningful match action as a half-time substitute in Monday's game. Those 45 minutes were his 9th appearance for Crystal Palace, but totaling just 299 minutes, well below what was anyone's expectations at the start of the season.
Rumors about an early recall had been floating about since the fall, so the news of Bamford's return to Chelsea came as no real surprise. The manner in which it came about however was a bit odd, as it turned out that Bamford himself called time on his stay at Crystal Palace, and he did so in a somewhat abrasive post-match interview on Monday.
"That was my last game for Palace. If I were being honest, it has been terrible. No one wants to sit on the bench and not play. It was my decision. The gaffer hasn't actually spoken to me."
-Patrick Bamford; source: BBC
As it often turns out, words presented without their full context can be more abrasive than they're meant to be. Bamford took to Twitter to point this out, to apologise for the manner of his departure and the controversy caused by his comments (which even prompted Palace captain Mile Jedinak to fire back publicly).
"My comments after the game at the weekend were taken completely out of context and for that I apologise. I've really enjoyed my time at Palace, the lads were brilliant, the gaffer and training were great. I want to thank the chairman (Steve Parish) as I couldn't have been at a nicer club, I'm just disappointed I couldn't do more for the team but wish them all the best for the second half of the season and thank the fans for their amazing support every weekend."
-Patrick Bamford; source: Twitter
So what was the full context of Bamford's comments? Frustration, mostly. Discontentment. And more frustration.
"This was my last game for Palace. If I am being honest, it has been terrible. No-one wants to sit on the bench and not play."
"Obviously things haven't worked out for whatever reason. I would have been more content if I had been given a chance and not taken it. I haven't started a game in the Premier League so for a young player like me that is not what you need. So I have had to take my development into course and make it a priority."
"I just got a bit frustrated at not getting a chance. Obviously there are a lot of things I could say that frustrated me. I got on well with the gaffer (Alan Pardew) and I like him. It was just one of those that didn't work out."
"I was frustrated because there weren't many strikers scoring. Connor (Wickham) only scored his first goal last week. As a striker, it might be short-sighted of me, but scoring goals is a striker's job. If you are not playing and the other strikers are not scoring and you are not getting a chance, I was pulling my hair out. That was a bit frustrating for me."
"Apart from that, the team has been doing really well so I couldn't really complained about getting involved sometimes."
There's no denying that his loan to Palace has been terrible, though perhaps voicing that in public wasn't the wisest move and now he's backtracking a bit and trying to put out the flames on the bridges he was actively burning.
"It was my decision. The coaches have just found out - I have told them I am going. I think the manager and the coaching staff already knew. But the physios and coaching staff I have just let them know and said bye now. I think I had to do it because I haven't been playing and for my development, it is crucial that I play games."
"I have known for the last two or three weeks maybe that I was heading back so it was about getting as much game time before I did go back. I wouldn't say it has been a waste of time. That would be a bit harsh."
"But I have learned things from [Alan Pardew] - playing with people like Yohan [Cabaye] and the other players in the team. You can always learn something. It was my first stint in the Premier League properly. It was a learning curve and we will see what happens next."
So what's next for Bamfordinho?
"I think I have got to be open to all options. Ideally I want to stay in the Premier League and I think there are a few options to stay, so now it is about assessing which is best and we will go from there."
"I just got a bit frustrated at not getting a chance. Obviously there are a lot of things I could say that frustrated me. I got on well with [Alan Pardew] and I like him. It was just one of those that didn't work out."
"I think after the New Year I go back with Chelsea and then take it from there. It is up to me to work hard then and see what happens."
-Patrick Bamford; Source: Get West London
Fortunately for Bamford, it seems that he already has several possible suitors in the Premier League as the Daily Mail reported yesterday that Swansea are looking to sell French striker Bafetimbi Gomis for £6.5 million to a Qatarian club and bring in the young English striker on a loan deal. There's rumored interest from AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City as well, plus there's always the possibility of going back to the Championship with Middlesbrough, where manager Aitor Karanka has made it clear that he would welcome Bamford back at the Riverside Stadium with open arms. Given Chelsea's issues with our backup strikers, there's even a (very) tiny chance that Bamford sticks around with the parent club.
However he ends up choosing, hopefully Bamford's next move works out better than the last.