Cole Palmer’s £40m Deadline Day transfer to Chelsea, coming practically out of nowhere, was apparently seen as somewhat of a “punchline” by some, to the £1 billion joke of our transfer activities. And that makes for a good headline, but Chelsea’s opportunistic swoop for the 21-year-old who had just played a key role in Manchester City winning the UEFA Super Cup has proven to be a smart move indeed.
Palmer has made an excellent start to life in London, almost instantly becoming essential to our attack and recently notching his first goal for us as well. He’s started three games, we’ve won all three. Normally, that wouldn’t be all that noteworthy, but given our lack of winning (let alone consistent winning) over the past 12-18 months, any positive sign of doing so is worth pointing out.
Even for Palmer himself, things have gone a bit better than he may have imaged when first looking at our squad and seeing an opportunity to advance his career. At least on the pitch.
“It has surprised me a bit but I know my own ability. And I knew that if I hit the ground running I’d have a chance and obviously make an impact. That’s why I went [to Chelsea]. I thought I could break in. I looked at the squad and there are a lot of players who went, not as many as people would have thought in terms of attackers.
“It’s been hectic but that’s good, moving down [to London] was a big change. I was in a hotel for a couple of weeks and then I got my own place. It is new and difficult, I don’t know how to do most things on my own so I’m learning.’ [...] I’m learning everything: cooking, finding my way around London and even using a washing machine. Mum was doing my washing at home.”
-Cole Palmer; source: Daily Mail
Well, if he can help unlock our goal-shy attack, I’m sure he can figure out how to work a washing machine.
Obviously it’s still early days, not just for Palmer, but for our season and our semi-carefully laid plans as well. The project is meant to be long-term; we have to stay patient in our expectations and in our evaluations. Our upcoming fixtures will be a massive reality check. Just have to keep improving, building, developing ... and maybe we can keep surprising ourselves a bit, by bit.