Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confessed he did not want to sell Billy Gilmour after the midfielder joined Brighton on deadline day.
Gilmour made his Chelsea debut in 2019 and showed plenty of promise in sporadic appearances, but it wasn’t until Euro 2020 that he became a household name when he won Man of the Match on his first start for Scotland in a goalless draw with England .
He was loaned out to Norwich last season where Blues fans were hoping he would gain experience and develop his game, but instead he looked completely overwhelmed at Carrow Road.
The 21-year-old started in 21 Premier League games and made just one assist as the Canary Islands finished bottom of the table.
As a result, Tuchel wasn’t convinced that Gilmour was ready to make the leap into Chelsea’s first-team and was planning to loan the academy graduate back on loan, but the player himself disagreed.
“We had high hopes,” Tuchel told Chelseafc.com
“He played for us in the first half of the year when I was at Chelsea and he played some important games for us and he was looking for a new challenge which didn’t go so well for him with Norwich.
“We expected more and he expected more without pointing a finger. It’s difficult for him and also for us, not playing at Norwich, being relegated and then suddenly being a central midfielder for Chelsea, fighting for the top 4 and for all the titles. It’s a huge step.
“So we looked. Perhaps the ideal solution would have been for him to go back on loan as the competition in central midfield is huge for us and we thought he wasn’t at the age he was with five, six, seven or eight games throughout season can live again. and realize your own potential.
“So ideally it would have been another loan, but Billy didn’t want to be loaned out. That was a no-go for him and so we finally agreed on a sale.”
Brighton snapped up the midfielder for an initial £7.5million deal, a decision that angered some Chelsea supporters as the club’s midfield options struggled with form and injuries.
But there was some good news for the Blues on deadline day when defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria was loaned out from Juventus.
Added Tuchel: “That was an option that came very late. It wasn’t referring to the numbers we should have in midfield, but to the numbers we actually have.’
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