Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says that the club feel “convinced” Crystal Palace loanee Conor Gallagher can impress at Stamford Bridge next season.
The 21-year-old is one of several academy stars to have progressed through the ranks at Chelsea in recent years. However, he is arguably the one gaining the most attention as he impresses across London.
In fact, Gallagher has proved one of the signings of the season so far by Palace. He has scored six goals and assisted three others in 17 Premier League matches.
As such, the focus is starting to turn to his plans for next season. Chelsea refused to include a purchase option when discussing his loan deal with Palace. Indeed, the Blues want to integrate Gallagher into their first team.
In contrast, though, Gallagher supposedly doubts whether Chelsea can truly keep their promise, given the depth and calibre of player at Tuchel’s disposal.
In any case, Tuchel has offered another clear hint about his plans for the midfielder.
“We love Conor, we are convinced about him,” the manager told the Daily Express.
“We took the decision for Conor because when we looked at the midfield – Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante – he was considered number four in the group.
Gallagher will cost Palace £60m from Chelsea
Conor Gallagher would cost Crystal Palace £60m according to former player Darren Ambrose
“Conor knew this all the way. An opportunity came up where he could clearly see more minutes and more responsibility.
“Would he be the same Conor if he had stayed here? Obviously not, because the situation will then be different.
“Maybe, then, the same people would say, ‘How can they rely on Conor Gallagher’?, or ‘Why don’t they give him more minutes’?”
Gallagher’s future has also come further into view following a rocky run of form for Chelsea. They recently lost Kovacic and Kante to injury and won only three of eight games.
However, Tuchel insisted that bringing Gallagher should only focus on his form for Palace.
Gallagher gets message from Tuchel
“If Mateo hadn’t been injured, it wouldn’t really matter,” the manager said.
“So, no, you cannot go back to these decisions that are made for the club and for the player. Everybody agreed on it.
“And it’s obviously a good decision because he is doing so well and everybody is happy.
“That’s because he plays every single game, and knows how important he is to the team at Crystal Palace. This is a huge part of being at the best level you can be.”
But Gallagher is not the only Chelsea midfielder who is facing uncertainty. Fellow loanee Billy Gilmour is due back from Norwich at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley have come back into the Chelsea first team after failing to get moves away.