Conor Gallagher featured heavily for Chelsea in preseason and after three years out on loan, the 22-year-old looks set to be part of the first-team going forward. He was officially assigned a squad number, everyone’s been saying all the right things, and he even made his debut, however brief, in Saturday’s season opener.
But Chelsea’s midfield still looks quite crowded, especially if Frenkie De Jong were to join a group that already includes N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho (both in the final years of their contracts), Mateo Kovačić, (occasional wing-back) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and youngster Carney Chukwuemeka. Regardless of best intentions, it’s hard to see Gallagher playing as much as he did last season at Crystal Palace, for example, where he started all but three of the Premier League games he was eligible for.
And Palace are apparently hoping to take advantage of that (natural) situation by convincing Gallagher to rejoin them on loan for a second season, according to reports yesterday from The Times and the Mail. The upcoming mid-season World Cup is a big selling point as well, with Gallagher a lot more likely to earn a spot on the England team if he’s also earning regular minutes in the league.
Newcastle United are also sniffing around, but it’s Palace who might have a shot of actually making something happen. Gallagher has three years left on his Chelsea contract and certainly wants to make his mark at Stamford Bridge, but maybe there is room for another season away without ruining that fairy-tale pathway.