In-form Palmer leaves group of most valuable players to have never had an international call up
Cole Palmer has received his first England call up, as Gareth Southgate turned to the 21-year-old for his latest Three Lions squad, for the qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia this November. This means the €32 million valued Chelsea winger leaves the group of the most valuable footballers to have not been called up for their nations.
Palmer was part of the England U21 squad that won the European Championship in the summer, and has been on scintillating form for Chelsea this season, culminating in striking a blow to his old manager Pep Guardiola. He scored an injury time penalty to equalise against his former side Manchester City in a man-of-the-match performance in the 4-4 thriller at Stamford Bridge.
How has Palmer performed for Chelsea this season?
Many were surprised Man City let talented youth product Palmer leave the Etihad to go to a rival Premier League club in a €47m move to Chelsea this summer. But the boyhood City fan has already showcased why he made the move - just 12 games into the season, he has already played more Premier League minutes for Chelsea (595) than he did in the last three seasons for the Sky Blues (489).
Nicolas Jackson is the only Chelsea player who has scored more Premier League goals than Palmer’s four this season. He has also provided two assists and only Jackson has more shots on target. He has taken the responsibility of being penalty taker at Chelsea this season, despite being a new signing, just 21 years old, and experienced players such as Raheem Sterling and World Cup winner Enzo Fernández in the squad, highlighting the confidence and maturity Palmer has.
Chelsea’s number 20 has even been likened to a World Cup and Champions League winner. Manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked whether Palmer reminded him of former Blue Juan Mata, and said, “Juan Mata? No, he is more Ángel Di María! You know, the body and the way he moves. Pochettino was also asked about whether he was surprised Guardiola let Palmer leave Manchester City: ”I think it is not fair to say it surprises me just because now he is performing and he didn't play too much in City, we are two different clubs, with different objectives. Maybe he fits well for Chelsea. It's always difficult to judge these kinds of decisions.”
Why did Guardiola let Palmer go?
“I said to him “Riyad Mahrez is leaving, you are going to get a chance here”. ‘He said “No, I’m not going to play here, I want to leave” so I said “OK, leave!” said Guardiola when asked about Palmer leaving the club, ahead of their game at Stamford Bridge. As aforementioned, gametime was hard to come by for Palmer at Man City, playing just 489 Premier League minutes, and only making 47 appearances and just 12 starts for the club, following his debut in 2020 in the English League Cup.
Mahrez, Sterling, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Julián Àlvarez, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, and Ferran Torres are the kind of calibre of forwards Palmer had to compete with for time on the pitch, in Guardiola’s relentless trophy winning team. And this summer, after being at the club for 15 years, enough was enough - it was time to move on.
Who are now the most valuable players not to have had a call up?
The most valuable players without an international call up are Bayern Munich’s Mathys Tel and Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise - both valued at €50m. Tel has six goals in 17 appearances this season (only Harry Kane and Leroy Sané have more), whilst fellow Frenchmen Olise has been struggling with injuries this season - he made his first appearance of the campaign off the bench against Everton on Saturday. Next up on the list are two Englishmen in Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon (€45m) and Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey (€42m) who have both failed to make Southgate’s squads just yet, but will be hoping a good season with their clubs can grab his attention and help make a late push for the Three Lions’ European Championship squad.
There are also three players valued at €40m, who have failed to earn a call up for their nations. Frenchmen Elye Wahi and Manu Koné, representing Lens and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively, and Englishman and Nottingham Forest midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White are the players in question. The top five on this list are all either French or English, emphasising the heaps of talent both nations are producing at this moment in time, and both countries will be up there with the favourites to win the Euros in Germany this summer.
Top 20 Most Valuable Players To Have Never Had An International Call Up
Updated November 14th, 2023