When Chelsea forked out £42.5million to prize Cole Palmer away from Manchester City on transfer deadline day, several eyebrows were raised.
In what felt like yet another piece of scattergun business by the Blues, who have recently developed a knack for their chaotic spending, many believed that Palmer was merely the latest in a string of purchases without any plan.
Despite arriving to Stamford Bridge as a treble-winner, plenty wrote off the English midfielder before he’d even pulled on the shirt for the first time and believed that if he wasn’t talented enough for Pep Guardiola to keep around, then he wouldn’t cut the mustard.
How wrong those critics were. Whether they meant it or not, Palmer has looked like a genius piece of business from Chelsea almost four months on and is the bright spark in a misfiring Mauricio Pochettino side.
After a slow start, the 21-year-old scored his first goal for the club on his second start for them in the Premier League against Burnley, also grabbing an assist for good measure.
Since then, he’s become a full England international and continued to thrive in the capital, repaying the faith shown in him by both Chelsea and Pochettino, with his new manager regularly waxing lyrical about him.
“In the position that he [Palmer] plays, and because he’s a left-footer and because he has some similarities and the quality, he’s a potential Angel Di Maria,” Pochettino told TNT Sports.
He added: “He [Palmer] has the capacity and the potential to be close to him, with time.
“He’s still far away, but this type of player that can link, can be a playmaker, have the capacity to score, assist, it’s this type of player like Angel.”
It sounds like incredibly lofty praise, perhaps even premature, but it’s hard to argue with the experienced Argentine, or the stats that Palmer has put up since swapping Manchester for London.
Following an exceptional brace against Luton that takes him to eight goals and six assists so far, we’ve rounded up seven stats that sum up just how brilliant Palmer has been so far in 2023-24.
– Palmer has been involved in 12 Premier League goals this season (8 goals, 4 assists) – the only player currently aged 21 or under to be involved in more in Europe’s top five leagues this term is Jude Bellingham (15). Via @OptaJoe.
12 – Cole Palmer has been involved in 12 Premier League goals this season (8 goals, 4 assists) – the only player currently aged 21 or under to be involved in more in Europe's top five leagues this term is Jude Bellingham (15). Cool. #LUTCHE pic.twitter.com/5NQkJCorR8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2023
– Despite his brilliant form so far, Palmer’s two goals against Luton was his first brace in Chelsea colours.
– No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Chelsea in 2023 than Palmer (12). He’s only started 12 games for the club.
– The 21-year-old has now scored and assisted in four different Premier League games this season, more than any other player.
– Palmer is currently averaging a goal or assist every 87 minutes in the Premier League this season.
– On top of that, he now has more non-penalty goals than Saka, Antony and Havertz combined in the league this season.
– Leading the way at Chelsea in the Premier League, Palmer now has the most chances created (27), most goal involvements (12), most big chances created (7) and the joint-most assists (4). The main man.