Conor Gallagher is the latest in a long line of Chelsea talents impressing in the Premier League – and Blues boss Thomas Tuchel can’t afford to let him go next summer, whatever the cost
In case you hadn’t noticed, Chelsea’s academy stars are everywhere.
While Reece James was busy rifling in strikes at Newcastle on Saturday, Conor Gallagher was tormenting Manchester City on the way to helping loan side Crystal Palace cause a major upset at the Etihad.
Gallagher’s exploits were the latest in a string of stunning displays this season which have seen him earn recognition as the Eagles’ standout player.
A goal and an assist saw Chelsea’s on-loan midfielder scoop a third Man of the Match award to add to his back-to-back Player of the Month trophies at Palace. Gallagher has already established quite a name for himself in South London.
If he can keep up these performances week-in week-out, Thomas Tuchel will have quite a decision on his hands come the end of the season.
While Chelsea’s German mastermind will no doubt be revelling in seeing his side ripping up the Premier League having extended their lead at the summit of the standings to three points, Tuchel will no doubt be looking to the future given his meticulous eye for detail and planning.
The fine performances from Cobham academy graduates Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Trevoh Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the aforementioned James have caused plenty of optimism in West London this season, however, Tuchel must learn from his mistakes of the past.
Life after Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham may well be rosy for the Blues at present but seeing Tariq Lamptey and Tino Livramento thriving at Brighton and Southampton respectively must be a kick in the teeth for the Chelsea boss. It could have been even better than this.
The pair sought pastures new on the south coast after questioning their route into the Chelsea first team and with Gallagher appearing the best of Chelsea’s budding bunch, Tuchel cannot afford to let another slip through the net.
Patrick Vieira’s Palace will no doubt be looking to snap up their star loan signing next summer on a permanent deal but Chelsea simply cannot allow this to happen.
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The tenacious Gallagher has consistently produced all-action midfield displays against the Premier League’s best this season and seems like the perfect successor for the ageing N’Golo Kante and Jorginho over the next few years.
The 21-year-old’s displays have drawn comparisons to Blues hero Frank Lampard in some parts and the hardworking midfielder who possesses creative flair and an eye for goal would offer Chelsea a different kind of dynamism in midfield.
Gallagher would be another piece in Tuchel’s jigsaw which could well dominate for years to come. The Chelsea academy is certainly bearing its fruit.
Throw into the midfield mix the ever-impressive Mount and the potential re-signing of ex-academy star Declan Rice and the Blues could find themselves with the perfect homegrown midfield. It’s the stuff of dreams.
While the guarantee of regular first term football in a youthful and exuberant Palace side transformed under Vieira will surely offer its temptations for Gallagher, Tuchel must do all he can to avoid history repeating itself.
Lamptey and Livramento are the warning signs. It’s time for Tuchel to take note.
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