Chelsea step up talks over Emerson Palmieri return as Thomas Tuchel fears for fate of season

By James Robson

Chelsea are trying to negotiate a settlement to bring Emerson Palmieri back to the club this month.

The Italy international is on a season-long loan at Lyon but the European champions hope to cut that deal short, with Thomas Tuchel fearing the season could be wrecked without reinforcements during the January transfer window.

The German is prioritising cover at left wing-back after Ben Chilwell was ruled out for the rest of the season with anterior cruciate ligament damage.

Recalling Emerson is his preferred option, despite interest in Everton’s Lucas Digne, who is now expected to complete a move to Aston Villa this month.

It could cost in the region of £3million to cancel Emerson’s contract with Lyon, but that would be significantly cheaper than bringing in a permanent signing, with prices in January traditionally inflated.

Tuchel also wants any arrivals to be low risk, with the Chelsea manager aiming to avoid unnecessary disruption to his squad, who are still competing on all fronts.

Emerson is a popular figure within the dressing room and is also accustomed to the Premier League and life in London, so he is seen as the ideal option if an agreement can be reached with Lyon.

Tuchel is also considering strengthening at right wing-back, with Reece James ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Chelsea are reluctant to let Malang Sarr go this month, despite interest from Premier League clubs and links with a move to Italy.

Chelsea want to recall Emerson Palmieri from his season-long loan spell at Lyon (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The French centre-back has been used in cup competitions this season – and with injuries to Trevoh Chalobah, Chilwell and James, is seen as valuable cover.

Meanwhile, Billy Gilmour has returned to Chelsea for assessments on an ankle injury that could keep him out for a month.

But the midfielder, who is on loan at Norwich, will return to the Premier League strugglers, where he will receive treatment.

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