Aston Villa loanee Tammy Abraham has explained why he didn't return to Chelsea in order to secure a Premier League move in January, praising the Villans' family atmosphere and saying he wants to finish the season as top scorer.
Abraham expanded on his decision in an interview to Villa's YouTube channel (h/t Dan Connor of the team's official website):
"I felt like here was home. It has been since I stepped through the door in August. Everyone has made me feel so welcome. Obviously you have the gaffer and the likes of John Terry here. It feels like one big family. Everything is great here.
"Dean Smith and JT called me every day. They told me I'd continue to score lots of goals here and that they believed I could take us up.
"When someone believes in you that deeply, it gives you that confidence. You want to go out there every game and you don't just want to do the best for yourself – but for the staff, the coaches and everyone else.
Here is the full interview:
Following an impressive 16 goals in 20 Championship outings, Abraham was strongly linked with a return to Stamford Bridge in January because of a recall clause, per Stuart James of the Guardian.
While the initial speculation focused on a return to his parent club, Wolverhampton Wanderers soon emerged as possible suitors. As shared by Tim Spiers of the Express and Star, there were some eligibility issues involved with a switch, but Wolves believed they would get their man:
Abraham had already played for Chelsea's academy team and Villa, leading to questions over whether he could feature for a third team in the same season. FIFA previously ruled Hatem Ben Arfa could not when he moved to Nice in 2015, but the English Football Association did allow Bristol's Liam Walsh to play for three clubs last season.
Ultimately it didn't matter, and Villa are undoubtedly happy Abraham stayed put, as he has already played a major role since his stay was confirmed with a brace against Ipswich Town:
The 21-year-old, who now has 19 goals in 24 Championship appearances, clearly loves playing in Birmingham:
His immediate future is now secure, but Abraham's long-term prospects remain murky. His chances of impressing for his parent club took a big hit when Chelsea added Gonzalo Higuain. Albeit only on loan, the Blues can make the move permanent at the end of the season, and the Argentinian showed off his abilities with a brace in the win over Huddersfield on Saturday.
A strong finish to the season should lead to plenty of interest from other clubs in Abraham, who could earn himself a permanent switch in the summer. Villa could be an option should they earn promotion, and Wolves will undoubtedly try their luck again.