Leeds United have suffered a transfer blow over Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher amid speculation linking him with a move to Crystal Palace.
Reports in recent days had suggested that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were one of the clubs interested in landing the 21-year-old on a season-long loan, with The Athletic’s Phil Hay delivering an update on where he ranked among their targets.
Taking to Twitter, he said: “Bielsa is very keen on him. Likes his attributes and skill set.”
He then added: “Leeds do prefer to have permanent options and they would try for one but like with Ben White, they’re not always possible. Palace battling very hard for Gallagher too. He’s the midfielder they’ve been targeting.”
But now, TEAMtalk claim that the midfielder has opted to join fellow Premier League side Palace instead on a season-long loan, and thus remaining in the capital.
90min have since added that Gallagher actually underwent a medical at Thorp Arch, and that he had been on the verge of joining the Whites. They said: “That change of heart has left a sour taste in the mouth for the Whites, who believed they had got their man. Gallagher had visited the Leeds training ground, agreed personal terms and even undergone a medical with the Yorkshire club.”
Given Hay’s claim that “Bielsa is very keen on him”, missing out on Gallagher to another Premier League side is sure to leave Bielsa gutted.
Young, English and with the kind of energy and attitude that would have made him a dream for the Leeds boss, the Chelsea ace seems to have everything in his locker that Bielsa would have wanted.
During his loan spell at Swansea, Sky Sports pundit Keith Andrews raved about the midfielder’s “unbelievable” energy, and insisted that while he does his bit off the ball, he could also be a threat going forward too.
He said: “The one thing he has got is a fantastic engine, much like Lee Bowyer or Frank Lampard – it’s amazing, the resemblances between those two in their younger years particularly. But for me, he’s a classic No 8; he has an unbelievable energy, he does the ugly side of the game, but you have to let him off the leash and let him get forward.”
Despite not making his mark on the first team at Stamford Bridge, Gallagher has received high praise wherever he’s been, with former Charlton manager Lee Bowyer even calling the £13.5m-rated dynamo a “jewel” who was “impossible to replace.”
Given that Leeds finished well above Palace last season in the Premier League, and the fact they’ve got a proven manager in Bielsa, there no doubt would have been hope and even optimism that they could convince Gallagher to join up at Elland Road.
Instead, the Chelsea man has opted to stay put closer to home, and it’s an update that will leave Bielsa gutted. With Hay claiming that Gallagher was the man they were targeting to bolster that midfield position, this comes as a major setback for the Whites.