On-loan Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri has said he did not return to Stamford Bridge in January because of a promise made to Lyon.
Emerson made the move to the Ligue 1 giants back in the summer transfer window until the end of the season but Thomas Tuchel was eager to recall him in the January transfer window.
However, because the Blues did not insert a recall clause in the deal, they needed to agree a compensation package for the player, something they were ultimately unable to do.
Chelsea were linked with a number of left-back options in the January window to soften the blow of losing Ben Chilwell for the rest of the season but the window closed with no deals done at Stamford Bridge.
But while the likes of Lucas Digne and Layvin Kurzawa were rumoured to be of interest, Emerson remained the No.1 choice of the Blues boss.
When asked about a potential recall for the Italy international, Tuchel remained coy but confirmed that they were looking to replace Chilwell.
“I will not give you any details from that but in general I will not hide from the fact that we have a long-term injury to Ben Chilwell as our left wing-back who will miss the season,” he told a pre-match press conference.
“We know Emi, we appreciate him as a player and person in general. He had such a huge influence although he did not have a lot of minutes last season.
“He is a top guy, top professional and he is still a Chelsea player. It is not only what I wish for. We need to evaluate the situation. We are looking into it on this position. Emi is one of the options. I will not comment further.”
Emerson has been an ever-present in the Lyon side this season, making 20 Ligue 1 appearances and providing a goal and an assist.
Now the 27-year-old has spoken out on why he remained in France during the January transfer window, citing a loyalty to club legend Juninho Pernambucano, currently sporting director at the Groupama Stadium.
“I did not go back to Chelsea because I promised Juninho that I would stay for a season. I am a man of my word. I like being in Lyon, I want to be here,” he told the club’s officilal website.
“For next season, it’s difficult for me to say because it depends on the clubs but I’m happy here”.