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Emerson set to return to Chelsea from Lyon after all — report

Kenedy would like to have a word

Italy Training Session & Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

We spent much of January trying to convince Emerson Palmieri to cut his loan short at Olympique Lyonnais and come back to Chelsea to compete with Marcos Alonso for minutes at left wing-back after Ben Chiwell’s season-ending injury.

Considering the creative solutions Thomas Tuchel has had to employ, including playing Saúl Ñíguez out there, resurrecting Kenedy, or switching to a back-four, Emerson surely would’ve had plenty of minutes if he had chosen to return. Alas, he didn’t, citing some long-held promise he had made to a sporting director who wasn’t even at the club by then.

But as it turns out, Lyon are going nowhere fast this season, having been eliminated from the Europa League and back firmly in midtable after just one win in five in the league. And while Emerson has remained a key player for them, it doesn’t look like they will have the money or the intention to exercise the buy-option in his loan deal.

And so, as per Foot Mercato, the 27-year-old will be heading back to Chelsea after all at the end of the season, where he will have two years left on his contract. (Alonso will have one, while Chilwell, who’s been making good progress, will probably still be recovering from the ACL.)