Why Cole Palmer's move from Manchester City to Chelsea was the rare win-win-win-win-win for all parties

With a trip to the FA Cup final on the line, Chelsea and Manchester City will meet to determine one spot while Coventry City and Manchester United will make up the other tie. With City and Chelsea meeting, it also means a chance for Cole Palmer to deny his former club a spot in the FA Cup final with an impressive performance. While the Blues have been forgettable for most of the season, Palmer’s 23 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for Chelsea have been what has sparked their season.

City, who sold Palmer to Chelsea over the summer, essentially opted to chose moving on from Palmer in order to go all in on another young English phenom who plays the same position in Phil Foden, which shows how impressive their academy has been and with Foden in the midst of a career season of his own with 22 goals and 10 assists in all competitions, it’s a rare move that has worked out well for all involved. Palmer has been exceptional for Chelsea, Foden for City. It’s a win-win-win-win. Or maybe, it’s a win-win-win-win-win when you consider that both are in the player of the year running which shows that the true winner of this move is Gareth Southgate of the English national team who has both players at his disposal.

“He was asking for two seasons to leave Man City. I said, ‘stay,’ he wanted to leave. What can we do,” Pep Guardiola said about Palmer in his pre match press conference. “He’s an exceptional player with super potential … I didn’t give him the minutes he deserves that he now has at Chelsea.”

It’s a moment that shows Guardiola doing right by the player as Manchester City rarely keeps players against their will, but in doing that, they could’ve created their own worst enemy. It’s similar to the tile race as former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta is leading Arsenal in the run-in for the title, with former City players Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko featuring prominently in the squad. Then again, City have already won five of the previous six Premier League titles, so maybe Guardiola just needed to make things a little harder for himself.

But, City do find themselves in a precarious place this season, at least as far as Manchester City seasons go. They’ve already fallen out of the EFL Cup and Champions League so not ending this season with at least a double after having quadruple hopes — and Bernardo Silva calling for back-to-back trebles — would be a disappointment for City. Now they face Palmer, who has scored 10 goals in just his last five appearances. And while in some ways Chelsea are formidable, they did make it to the EFL Cup Final, losing in the FA Cup to the 10th-placed team in the league would be an unacceptable result. 

The Blues have struggled but they are finding form with only two Premier League losses in 2024. Mauricio Pochettino has handed the reigns of the attack to Palmer and the Englishman has run with it. Because of that, if City doesn’t make the FA Cup final, they could be the architects of their own demise.

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