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What to expect from Cole Palmer at Chelsea

Chelsea have done some huge business over the last three transfer windows but arguably none has been as eye-catching, or surprising, as the signing of Cole Palmer from Manchester City.

An academy graduate whom Pep Guardiola looked to be grooming to potentially break into the first team over the next six to 12 months, the Stamford Bridge side's interest began brewing late last month and the deal was confirmed on Friday morning.

An initial fee of £40m, plus £2.5m in add-ons, has seen the 21-year-old swap Manchester for London, signing a seven-year contract with the option of a further year.

After Guardiola's insistence that the starlet would not be allowed to go out on loan, a permanent move away has still come as somewhat of a surprise, although Matheus Nunes' arrival at the Etihad from Wolves arguably explains the urgency ahead of the close of the window.

Fellow City graduate Tommy Doyle has headed in the opposite direction to Nunes by joining Wolves on loan, but all the talk is about Palmer and where he fits into Mauricio Pochettino's ever-changing Chelsea squad.

The Wythenshawe-born star becomes his new club's 13th summer signing and only bolsters their chances of winning the Premier League.

Cole Palmer Total Premier League Goals Odds:

10 or More Goals - 9/4
15 or More Goals - 18/1

A player with pedigree

Palmer's exposure at City may have been relatively limited, perhaps frustratingly so, making only 41 appearances since his debut in 2020, but the way he started this season suggested he was set to truly announce himself.

The midfielder netted City's equalisers in both the Community Shield, where they lost on penalties to Arsenal, and the UEFA Super Cup, in which they beat Sevilla on spot-kicks.

Palmer started the latter, winning the Player of the Match award for slaying World Cup-winning left-back Marcos Acuna in a string of one-on-ones, with Guardiola describing his performance as "fantastic".

His fast start to the season came fresh from helping the England Under-21s win the European Championships, but it was telling after the Super Cup victory that the boss admitted that the player could be sold, hinting that discussions had taken place. The landscape shifted with Jeremy Doku's arrival from Rennes, albeit that could have been as cover for the departed Riyad Mahrez.

West Ham were keen, while a switch to Burnley had been mooted, with Vincent Kompany known to want him but selling to a side who could prove to be a direct rival was not seen as part of the equation.

Where will he fit in at Stamford Bridge?

There is a link, with Joe Shields, City's former head of academy recruitment and talent management, thought to have driven the deal as part of his current, similar role with Chelsea.

Palmer is also the second player to join Chelsea from City in as many seasons, with Raheem Sterling making the same move last summer.

Part of the explanation for Sterling's departure was the presence of players like Palmer. The potential they had shown made him disposable and the pair could now battle it out again at the Bridge.

Whether in a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3, an attacking trio looks like Pochettino's preference and suits Sterling, whose electric form this season, included a brace in last Friday's 3-0 win over Luton.

Palmer remains with the England Under-21s and was named in Lee Carsley's squad for their game against Luxembourg on Monday 11th September.

Senior honours has to be his goal though, but he will need to find regular football for that and competition for places at the Bridge is fierce.

Fellow youngster Carney Chukwuemeka started the season in frightening fashion before suffering a knee injury, while Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Christopher Nkunku have also arrived over the last year and will want to feature behind the striker.

There is also uncertainty over Palmer's best role - is he an attacking midfielder? Can he play deeper? Is he a wide player, or best suited to a central position? We have at least seven years to find out but the new boy's relative lack of game time leads to big questions regarding where he fits in.

Can Palmer push both himself and Chelsea to greater heights?

Pochettino will surely have a plan and despite the doubts about Palmer's age and position, he is still a player with Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League medals in his collection.

Growing up at City will also have given his now former club's most expensive academy graduate real insight into how to win trophies, something Pochettino will be keen to dial into.

For all of their business over the last year or so, Chelsea have bought potential, but not always knowhow. Palmer gives them both and will hope to have a say in a season that has started with a draw, a defeat and that win over Luton.

Next up for the Blues is Saturday's visit of Nottingham Forest and a win will send them into the break in good spirits and give their boss extra confidence as he mulls his best options.

Pochenttino may choose to throw his latest newbie straight in as he looks to inject some early confidence into his new player and show him that he will be more than the fringe star he seemed set to be at City this season.

The talent is there and with Guardiola admitting that the youngster could occasionally be "quiet", some early game time could be what is required to bring him out of his shell and tap into some of that undoubted potential.

Buying precocious youngsters is hardly new for Chelsea, but Palmer's City experience gives him an edge over some of his colleagues and his arrival could have come at the perfect time for both himself and his employers.

Cole Palmer:

To make England Euro 2024 squad - 6/1

Chelsea (Outrights):

To Win Premier League - 16/1
To Win Premier League Without Man City - 6/1
To Finish in Top 4 - 6/4
To Finish in Top 5 - 5/6
To Finish in Top 6 - 1/2
To Finish in Top Half - 1/20
To Win the FA Cup - 8/1
To Win the League Cup - 8/1

View all latest Premier League odds

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