Billy Gilmour admits it was a ‘difficult decision’ to leave Chelsea but says he couldn’t ignore his desire to play more football after joining Brighton on a permanent transfer.
Chelsea agreed to sell Gilmour to Premier League rivals Brighton on deadline day, with the deal initially being valued at £7.5million.
Gilmour spent last season on loan at relegated Norwich City and has not played for Chelsea this season.
The 21-year-old was once considered one of Chelsea’s most promising players but left after just 21 appearances for the Blues.
Asked if he felt he needed a fresh start after deciding to leave Stamford Bridge, Gilmour said: “Yeah, I think so.
“Obviously it was a difficult decision but I wanted to play football, that’s the main goal for me, to get in, enjoy my football and get regular playing time. It was a bit of a no-brainer.’
Chelsea signed Gilmour from Rangers in 2017 and the Scotland international received his Blues debut from former manager Frank Lampard.
But Gilmour’s playing time was cut short when Thomas Tuchel took over and the midfielder failed to improve his reputation during last season’s loan at Carrow Road.
When asked how his move to Brighton came about, Gilmour added: “It took a long time, there was a lot of back and forth between Chelsea and Brighton.
“It’s been a busy day, a long day but an enjoyable one and I can’t wait to get started.
“For me, Brighton play great football with a style that I enjoy playing. The manager is also very appreciated, so I really wanted to come here.’
Brighton boss Graham Potter, meanwhile, said he “can’t wait” to work with Gilmour and was “really excited” about his potential.
“Billy comes with a fantastic pedigree, having played for Scotland in the Premier League and Champions League and last year’s Euros,” said Potter.
“He will complement our existing midfield options. This experience at a fairly young age shows the strength of character he has and we’re really excited about his potential.
“Now it’s about giving him the time to get used to a new environment and to settle into our club. We can’t wait to work with him.”
Gilmour joins a Brighton side who have made an impressive start to the new season, finishing fourth in the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s clash with newly promoted Bournemouth.
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