Thomas Tuchel has confirmed to Conor Gallagher that he will not be a bit-part player at Chelsea next season, football.london understands. The England international is expected to stay and fight for his place at the Blues next season after a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace.
The 22-year-old midfielder recorded 11 direct goal contributions – eight goals and three assists in the 2021/22 Premier League season with the Eagles. Palace want to keep Gallagher for at least another campaign, with Patrick Vieira making no secret of the club’s desire to keep hold of the talented Chelsea midfielder.
“It’s up to Chelsea and of course the player,” Palace boss Vieira said recently regarding Gallagher’s future. “We have him for the year and we are really pleased with his contribution, he’s been terrific.
“Then after the season, he goes back to Chelsea and the decision is Chelsea’s and Conor’s to make. A lot has been said already. He’s been playing I believe his best football at this club, which allowed him to go with England.
“It will be important for him to ask a question about what will be the next step for him and the next step may be at Chelsea because he has to go back and see how things will go for him. Of course we are and I am really pleased with the way the year we spent together.
“He’s been really good to us and we will have to wish him good luck if he goes back to Chelsea. If there’s a possibility to bring him back, we will definitely talk about it.”
Despite these comments from Vieira, it appears Chelsea are keen to keep hold of the Cobham graduate and give him an opportunity to prove himself in the first-team. football.london understands that Gallagher and Tuchel had a meeting at the end of the season, with the Blues midfielder keen to stay and fight for his place, with Tuchel ready to give him that opportunity.
As well as this, Gallagher recently penned an emotional farewell to Crystal Palace on his official Instagram page. The England midfielder wrote: “I’m so proud to have been part of this team which was a very successful season in the league and getting to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final was amazing.
“From my first contact with Patrick Vieira, he’s been brilliant with me and helped me develop into a better player, for which I can’t thank him enough. The players and staff have made me feel like I’ve been here for years and the fans have made me feel so at home.
“Your support helped us in tough games this season and it can make all the difference! I’ve given everything this season for the club and was delighted to be the supporters player of the year, thank you all so much for your support. It’s been so special to play for this great club. Hopefully, I showed that in my performances on the pitch and how proud I was to wear the shirt. Thank you.”
Chelsea are expected to lose a host of players over the summer transfer window. Ross Barkley and Jorginho both have just over 12 months remaining on their respective contracts and one, or both, of them could be sold before the start of next season. Theoretically, this could hand Gallagher more of a chance to play consistently in the first-team.
N’Golo Kante, likewise, sees his contract at Chelsea expire next summer, but numerous reports suggest the Blues are keen on extending the Frenchman’s stay at the club. Tuchel spoke about Kante after Chelsea’s draw with Leicester City in the penultimate game of the season and stated his importance to the side.
The Blues head coach said: “I think he is a key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place. He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] Van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“He is that guy who makes the difference, and if you only have him for 40 per cent, then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season, and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player and we need him on the pitch.”