Chelsea owner Todd Boehly was reportedly determined to retain the services of Billy Gilmour before his move to Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 21-year-old burst onto the scene at Stamford Bridge in the disrupted 2019-20 season but only ever made fleeting appearances for the first team under Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante were all above Gilmour in the pecking order, and the return of Conor Gallagher from his loan spell at Crystal Palace pushed him further down the ranks.
Having failed to make the Chelsea squad for their opening four Premier League fixtures, Gilmour was offloaded to Brighton in a £9m deal after a five-year stint in the English capital.
The Scotland international left Chelsea after making 22 appearances for the senior side in all tournaments, although he failed to provide a goal or assist for the club in that time.
Gilmour has penned a four-year deal at the Amex Stadium, but according to The Athletic, Boehly told the midfielder that he wanted him to stay at the club.
Gilmour had supposedly been told by then-manager Tuchel that he was not in his plans moving forward, and the ex-Rangers youngster was then determined to leave the capital side ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Instead, Boehly believed that Gilmour could eventually force his way into the first XI and implied to the player that he would be presented with opportunities to lay down a marker.
The report adds that Tuchel encouraged Gilmour to make the switch to Brighton in order to play under Graham Potter, who led the Seagulls to their highest-ever Premier League finish last term.
However, barely two weeks after Gilmour arrived on the South Coast, Tuchel was sacked as Chelsea manager after 100 games in charge and replaced by Potter on a five-year deal.
The midfielder was loaned out to Norwich City for the 2021-22 season, but neither he nor Chelsea were understood to be considering another temporary exit away from Stamford Bridge.
Gilmour made his debut for Brighton as a late substitute in their 5-2 win over Leicester City on September 4, and the Seagulls were due to take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League this weekend.
However, the game has been postponed due to a rail strike that has since been cancelled in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, and the Premier League confirmed on Monday that the game is still off.
Manchester United’s clash with Leeds United and Liverpool’s trip to Gilmour’s former club Chelsea have also been postponed, with police currently preparing for the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.
Meanwhile, Arsenal – whose Europa League clash against PSV Eindhoven was called off – will be taking on Brentford in Sunday’s London derby, but the kickoff time has been moved from 2pm to 12pm.