Premier League • England

Chelsea urged to make swift decision over return of Palace star as ‘serious takers’ lurk

Crystal Palace pair Marc Guehi and Conor Gallagher

Former Chelsea coach Jody Morris has urged Thomas Tuchel to give Conor Gallagher regular opportunities in the first team next season or risk losing him to a rival club.

Gallagher is enjoying a fantastic campaign on loan at Crystal Palace, where he is working under legendary midfielder Patrick Vieira. The starlet is on eight goals and five assists from 32 matches so far.

That includes a goal and assist during Palace’s surprise victory over Manchester City in October. He also bagged a brace as the Eagles beat Everton 3-1 in December.

Gallagher’s impressive performances have given him his first taste of senior England action. He has made three appearances for the Three Lions, with two of those coming in the recent international break.

Reports have hinted at a bid from Crystal Palace to make his transfer permanent. However, it would take a huge sum to prize him away from Stamford Bridge for good.

Instead, the central midfielder is likely to return to Chelsea ahead of next season. It will then be down to Tuchel to decide if he can become a regular starter.

Morris, who was Frank Lampard’s assistant at Chelsea, has given his verdict on Gallagher’s future.

Morris sends Conor Gallagher warning to Chelsea

He wants the 22-year-old to be given a chance to shine in west London, to keep ‘serious takers’ at bay.

“Conor Gallagher is certainly up there as far as Young Player of the Season is concerned,” Morris said (via CaughtOffside).

“His performances – not only this season at Crystal Palace, but also at Swansea and West Brom – have been unbelievable.

“He’s been a top-drawer performer for nearly three years, and he’s taken to the Premier League like it’s nothing.

“The energy that he gives, the fact that he’s chipping in with goals, and how at home he looks on an international stage… there’s no reason why Chelsea shouldn’t be looking at bringing him into the starting lineup next season.

Conor Gallagher plays for England

“I hope they bring him in with the intention of playing him, though. Don’t just bring him back and keep hold of him to play 10 or 15 games. You’ve got to look to the future.

“A lot of Chelsea fans won’t like me saying this, but if you’re Conor Gallagher and you’re looking at your future, you’re thinking, ‘no one is guaranteed to play week-in, week-out at Chelsea’.

“Conor would want to know that the manager believes in him and is willing to give him an opportunity to showcase his talent in the first team.

“And, let me tell you, there would be a lot of takers, and I’m talking about serious takers throughout Europe, who’ll be keeping an eye on his situation. He’s certainly put himself in the shop window.

“He could be like a massive summer signing for Chelsea when he returns to the club at the end of the season.

“You only have to look at what happened to Mason Mount and his career when he came back from Derby. Tammy Abraham produced as well.

“There’s really no reason why clubs shouldn’t be giving these players a real opportunity, regardless of whether you’re a top four club or not.”

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