Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has insisted that the club are still hopeful of securing Conor Gallagher on a permanent deal this summer, following his impressive loan stint at Selhurst Park.
Speaking about the midfielder’s long-term plans, Parish revealed that the Eagles are keen to keep the 22-year-old – who recently claimed the club’s player of the year award – beyond the end of the season, despite the suggestion that he will return to parent club Chelsea next term.
Commenting on the three-cap international’s future, the 56-year-old stated that (quotes via The Athletic): “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”.
He then went on to add that: “Obviously with Conor, we’ve got to see what we can do there. He’s going back and we’ve got to either replace him or see if we can get him back.”
Although it remains to be seen whether Thomas Tuchel will wish to include the £22.5m-rated man in his first-team plans at Stamford Bridge next term, it would seem there is hope renewed that the youngster could still be plying his trade in south, rather than west, London, next term.
In truth, it has been a truly standout campaign for the Blues academy graduate this term – having previously spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion – with the midfield starlet providing eight goals and three assists thus far.
Part of a youthful and exciting outfit under Patrick Vieira, Gallagher has thrived as an all-action presence in the centre of the park, showcasing his ability both in and out of possession.
Dubbed like “N’golo Kante with goals” by talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino, the £17k-per-week gem seemingly has a boundless energy to impact the game at both ends of the pitch, averaging 2.1 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game in the top-flight this season.
He also ranks in the top 6% for pressures made among midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 7 % for touches in the attacking penalty area and in the top 9% for dribbles completed, with there a plethora of strings to his bow it would seem.
With a top-half finish still within reach this term, Vieira’s men will be hoping to go one better next season and mount an attack on the top-six, with having Gallagher in tow likely to make that dream easier to realise.