Premier League • England

Crystal Palace chairman has second Chelsea target in mind if Plan A fails

Chelsea stars Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Romelu Lukaku

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has outlined his plans to re-sign Conor Gallagher next year, though admitted another Chelsea star would do just fine.

Gallagher has been nothing short of a revelation at Selhurst Park this year. The 22-year-old was signed on loan to help infuse Patrick Vieira’s midfield with more energy and bite.

However, the midfielder’s impact has been far greater than just hustling and harrying opponents into mistakes.

Indeed, Gallagher’s current tally across the season stands at eight goals and five assists in all competitions.

His rapid rise has seen him emerge as a genuine contender for England’s squad at the Qatar World Cup. When making his first England start against Switzerland last month, Gallagher was the stand-out performer.

With such an impressive season under his belt, it’s come as no surprise to see Thomas Tuchel suggest Gallagher could be integrated into the Chelsea first-team next season.

However, whether he would be a regular starter remains in serious doubt. The likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic won’t budge easy.

As such, Crystal Palace may have an opening if they push to re-sign Gallagher next season. If he is to cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s plans, regular minutes will need to be maintained.

Parish has Conor Gallagher Plan B

And via the Mirror, regular minutes back at Palace next season is exactly what the Eagles will strive for.

When asked about bringing Gallagher back on board and the midfielder’s international ambitions aiding their cause, Parish said: “Of course. But the player is the number one person.

“He knows exactly what his priorities are and he knows exactly what he’s doing. I’m sure at the end of the season, Conor will work out what he thinks the best thing for him is and that will that will be the catalyst for it.”

If Chelsea refuse to play ball over Gallagher, Parish then admitted he could sanction an approach for Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The midfield has looked a rejuvenated figure under Thomas Tuchel, though would drop to fifth choice in central midfield if Gallagher remained at Stamford Bridge.

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Conor Gallagher needs Chelsea chances next season

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Loftus-Cheek was on loan at Palace in the 2017-18 season – something that could work in their favour in 2022.

“If there’s an opportunity to get [Gallagher] or even Ruben Loftus-Cheek then of course,” continued Parish.

“These are top players and it’s been brilliant having him here this year, not just because of what he does on the pitch.

“Also because of the way he is around the place. The way he is with the media and supporters and because of how special a lad he is.”