Emerson explains why he decided not to return to Chelsea in January

Chelsea loanee Emerson Palmieri has finally opened up about why he did not return to Stamford Bridge in January despite Thomas Tuchel’s clearly wanting him back.

The Blues spent the January transfer window trying to reach an agreement with Lyon to recall the 27-year-old from his season-long loan spell.

Tuchel sees the defender as a “top professional” as well as one of his first options as Chelsea looked for solutions to Ben Chilwell’s long-term absence.

The west London outfit were always going to need Lyon’s permission to get Emerson back, which they clearly did not get, but the player himself did not really push for the move.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

“I didn’t go back to Chelsea because I promised [Lyon sporting director] Juninho that I would stay for a season,” the Italy international told the club’s official website.

“I am a man of my word.

“I like being in Lyon, I want to be here.

“For next season, it’s difficult to say, because it depends on the clubs, but I am happy here.”

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

In the end, Emerson stayed at Lyon, and Chelsea recalled Kenedy from his loan stint at Flamengo, instead.

To be fair, from Emerson’s perspective, it might have been a sensible decision.

He would have only been a short-term answer to Chilwell’s absence if he were to be back in London.

Obviously, he might have been able to collect a few winners’ medals at Chelsea until the end of the season, but he would likely have to find a new club in the summer.

Instead, he has now pretty much cemented his place as a regular at Lyon and can hope that it will be enough to convince the club to exercise the reported €15million buy-out option (per the Guardian) at the end of the season.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.