With three matches left to play, Crystal Palace have already matched their points total from last season with 44, and with a plus-4 goal difference, a marked improvement from the negative-25 registered in 2020-21.
Most of the credit will (and should) go to manager Patrick Vieira and his ability to strike good balance between defence and attack. At the same time, Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher was instrumental in their midfield to find this equilibrium, regularly putting in performances great enough for him to be recognised as their Player of the Season, even.
It is thus no surprise that Palace would love to keep the 22-year-old around for next season as well, but as Palace chairman Steve Parish concedes, that’s an unlikely scenario to say the least. They’re not giving up hope of course, but know that it’s a decision well out of their hands.
“Conor’s future and that decision lies not with us but with him and Chelsea. They’re the people that have to decide. Once they decide what their choice is, they know where we are and what we want. We’re not going to pretend any different but we’ve got to respect them as a football club because he’s their player.
“At the end of the season he goes back to Chelsea and they’ll make their decision. Based on that, we’ll be there and if everybody thinks it’s the right thing for him to come back, then we would love it. If it doesn’t work out, we wish him all the best as well.”
-Steve Parish; source: Daily Mail
Chelsea would be rather silly to entertain any other option than giving Gallagher a chance and a first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season.