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Billy Gilmour explains why Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea pre-season decision led to Brighton transfer



IMAGO / Colorsport

Billy Gilmour has revealed he wanted to remain at Chelsea last summer until it was made clear he had no other but to find a new club.

The 21-year-old departed Chelsea for Brighton & Hove Albion last September in a deal worth around £9 million, swapping Stamford Bridge for the south coast.

Gilmour, who was a popular figure in west London after rising through the academy ranks following his move from Rangers, returned to Chelsea following his loan spell at Norwich City which saw them relegated back to the Championship in 2021/22.

He linked up with Thomas Tuchel’s squad for pre-season, but was released from the first-team squad, a sign of where Gilmour’s future was heading.

As clubs expressed interest, although Gilmour’s sights were on a Chelsea stay, a move to Brighton was too hard to turn down, the midfielder has now revealed.

Speaking in the official Brighton programme, as quoted by Sussex Live, Gilmour said: “After my (Norwich) loan, I still wanted to be at Chelsea, to be a part of their first-team plans but quite quickly in pre-season I knew that wasn’t going to be the case.

“But I didn’t want to go out on loan again, I wanted to find a home, to play for a team and be settled.

“I had other clubs interested but once I knew of Brighton’s interest, it was a pretty straightforward decision for me to make. I haven’t looked back since. Now I just want to play more games and keep progressing.”

He is enjoying his time under Roberto De Zerbi, who replaced Graham Potter after he left for Chelsea – now sacked – which has seen Brighton qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Gilmour added: “I can see why Graham wanted to go to Chelsea, it’s a great club with great players but I put it behind me quite quickly. It was obviously strange, with Graham leaving a week after I signed but that’s football and while he obviously had a say, first and foremost it was the club that signed me, so I was happy with that.

“It was just a bit of bad luck on my part but Roberto De Zerbi has come in and honestly he’s been brilliant. Training has been intense, sharp, he wants everything at 100 percent and the boys love him.”