Keep, loan or sell? What Chelsea MUST do with Conor Gallagher

James Shearman Updated: 14 Aug 2022 14:49 BST 4 min read
Conor Gallagher, England, 202122

Conor Gallagher hopes to be a regular at Chelsea this season after a successful loan at fellow Premier league side Crystal Palace.

Gallagher came through the Blues' academy, enjoying loan spells at Charlton, Swansea and West Brom, before last season's move to Patrick Vieira's new-look Palace side.

The 22-year-old managed 8 goals and three assists in the league, helping the Eagles to a twelfth-place finish.

He also played a large part in Palace's FA Cup run, which ended in defeat to Chelsea in the semi-final.

Gallagher then returned to the Blues squad for their preseason trip to Los Angeles, with hopes of breaking into the first-team picture in the 2022-23 season.

But the Englishman only came on in the ninth minute of added time in Chelsea's opening Premier League game against Everton.

This would have been a frustrating start to the season for Gallagher, who is Newcastle's top transfer target, according to The Sun.

He is also subject to interest from Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace, according to journalist Nizaar Kinsella.

Chelsea could look to sell the youngster for a fee in the region of £40 million, potentially funding a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

Alternatively, Gallagher could spend another season on loan at a Premier League club, gaining even more first-team experience.

And, on his return, at least one of Jorginho and N'Golo Kante would depart Stamford Bridge, paving the way for a more important role in the 2023-24 campaign.

However, the best option at Chelsea's disposal is to keep him as part of Thomas Tuchel's squad this season.

N'Golo Kante (31), who has a significant injury history, and Jorginho (30) are starting to decline, meaning a long-term partner for Mateo Kovacic is needed.

And Chelsea won't find out whether Gallagher is capable of doing so unless he is given a chance.

Regular playing time will be difficult to achieve, but given the number of games the Blues are expected to play, he should receive more than enough opportunities to showcase his talent in west London.

Tuchel on Gallagher

''Conor fights in central midfield. To be very honest, it’s a tough fight for him because at the moment we only have two places in central midfield, which is a bit unfair given the number of players we have,'' said the Chelsea head coach.

''It’s not ideal, I agree. But we have to do what’s best for the squad, not what’s best for every individual player.

''I’m a huge fan of Conor. He is first of all a fantastic guy.

''In the first weeks of training, he showed how much of a step he made by having so much playing time and how much of a personality on the pitch he became.

''It’s a very very normal situation in development that, after some really fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there’s a little dip in form, a dip in freshness at the moment, from which he suffers.

''On top he has huge competition with [N'Golo Kante], [Jorginho] and [Mateo Kovacic], who are used to playing with each other.

''But this is life in a big club and a competitive club like Chelsea.

''Everything is in its right place. We are happy with him and he keeps on fighting, because this is what he does.

''I think he has everything to become a very important player over the next years at Chelsea.''

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