Chelsea are keen to pounce on Frenkie de Jong’s reluctance to join Manchester United this summer, though it could come at the expense of academy graduate Conor Gallagher. The midfielder impressed out on loan at Crystal Palace last season and is reportedly keen to rejoin the club on loan.
Gallagher made 34 Premier League appearances last season for Patrick Vieira’s side, scoring eight and assisting three – catching the eye of Gareth Southgate who rewarded the playmaker with an England debut. His consistent displays gave the 22-year-old hope that he would be central to Thomas Tuchel’s side this season.
But so far that hasn’t been the case, and Gallagher could fall further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge if De Jong decides to leave Barcelona in favour of a move to the Blues. According to The Mirror, the arrival of the Dutchman could see Gallagher be sent out on loan, with Palace ‘confident’ that they are in pole position to re-sign the midfielder.
West Ham and Newcastle also hold an interest in the Chelsea academy product, with both clubs keen to bolster their ranks in the centre of the park. Though Gallagher’s fruitful time spent at Selhurst Park previously could be a decisive factor if all clubs table an offer and it is left with the player to decide where his future lies.
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It is thought that Palace is the player’s favoured destination if he is surplus to requirements with the Blues, and a move ‘could be agreed by the weekend’. Tuchel consistently praised Gallagher throughout last season and it thought there was an ‘agreement’ that he would spend the new campaign with his boyhood side.
Asked about the future of Gallagher towards the end of last season, Tuchel said: “This will happen in the summer as we all agreed to the decision that we wanted to send him to Palace. He saw a possibility for him.
“I am not surprised the national coach loves him because I loved him from day one. Humble, nice, smile on his face and all the time ready to give everything, want to learn and improve. As a teammate, I would have loved to play with him. It is a pleasure to know him; I am super happy that it has worked out so well. He needs to keep his feet on the ground.”
It remains to be seen whether De Jong’s final does prove decisive for Gallagher’s future or whether he will look for an exit regardless. Over the course of Chelsea’s opening two matches of the season, he has only played six minutes of competitive football and could be reluctant to sit on the first-team fringes for an entire campaign.