Any hopes Crystal Palace had of signing midfielder Conor Gallagher on a permanent basis have taken a significant blow after it was revealed the loanee is planning on returning to parent club Chelsea at the end of the season.
What’s the story?
That’s according to former Blues midfielder Steve Sidwell, who claimed that the highly-rated 21-year-old is determined to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge next term.
“I remember Rio (Ferdinand) telling me he did an interview with him (Gallagher) not long ago,” Sidwell told the Daily Express.
“And he said to Rio: ‘When you speak about me, make sure that I state that I want to go back to Chelsea. I’m not here in the shop window to get a move. I’m doing this to show them what I can do to go back to Chelsea.’”
Will Gallagher be a big loss next season?
Parick Vieira will be gutted
Although Sidwell’s revelation regarding Gallagher’s long-term career plans may not come as a huge surprise to Patrick Vieira, the Palace manager is still likely to be gutted at what will potentially be a huge blow.
That’s because the box-to-box dynamo has been in imperious form for the Eagles in the opening weeks of the campaign, bagging four goals and providing a further three assists in just 11 Premier League appearances, prompting Ashley Cole to label him a “leader.”
His outstanding displays at club level also caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, who rewarded Gallagher with his senior international debut when he came on at halftime in the 10-0 thrashing of San Marino last week.
However, the south London outfit look set to be without his services next term as the £13.5m-rated gem sets his sights on breaking into Chelsea’s first-team setup.
Thomas Tuchel can currently call upon the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic to pull the strings in his engine room, but with fringe stars Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek linked with moves away, Gallagher could get his opportunity.
It remains to be seen if Tuchel can find space in his plans for Gallagher, but for now, Palace should just enjoy having such a talented player at their disposal for the rest of the campaign.