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Thoughts on Conor Gallagher’s Future

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Gallagher celebrates goal against Brighton in front of Palace fans

There’s so much talk about Conor Gallagher and what the future holds for this young England talent, so we’ve decided to have our say on the situation. With less than two months left of the 2021/22 season, Gallagher only has eight league matches left for the Eagles and potentially a FA Cup final if Palace beat his parent club, Chelsea, in the semi-final on the 17th of April.

Will he return to Chelsea and get game time from Tuchel as he has under Patrick Vieira at Palace? He’s not going to play every match and certainly not 90 minutes of every game when he’s competing in Chelsea’s squad. So, what could the future hold for this maverick of a player?

Could Chelsea cash in on Conor?

With Chelsea currently in financial limbo without a new owner secured, could they decide to cash in on the young midfielder? Now that he’s set the Premier League alight with Palace it wouldn’t only be the Eagles that show an interest in securing his signature. Richer clubs like Newcastle would be able to outbid Palace, but would the player want to make that move? There have been initial price tags of £40m bandied around and after the season he’s had we can see why.

Even two of the top Italian teams, Juventus and Inter Milan have been keeping an eye on his progress this season. But, it’s unlike foreign sides to spend big on a young English player when they can buy a local lesser-known player for much less.

On Transfermarkt.co.uk his value has rapidly risen since showing what he can do at Palace. Since he joined on loan in the summer his estimated transfer value has gone from £13.5m to £22.5m now at the end of March 2022. This is just an estimate and if Chelsea did want to sell him we think they could easily get £40m for him.

The fact that he’s now been called up twice for the England squad adds to his current estimated value. Then, there’s the amount of interest that Chelsea would receive from other clubs apart from Palace.

Would Palace splash out if he was for sale?

It’s clear to see that Conor is loving his time at Palace, but would the Eagles be willing to break their club transfer record to bring the 22-year old to Selhurst Park permanently? With the fairly recent backing from John Textor, we think that the club would do everything they could to get him on a permanent deal if the opportunity arose.

His wage demands are going to increase after this season and a £40m lump sum on a player is a lot for Palace. Not to tempt fate, but if the FA Cup goes well then there would be more money to put towards a Gallagher fund.

Potentially Another Loan Deal

As we’re in a World Cup year, Gallagher will want to get as much game time before it so he has a strong chance of making the squad. As we said previously, we doubt he’ll get the same amount of minutes at Chelsea as he has at Palace which could make the player want to go out on loan again.

Palace would be at the front of the queue to have him for another season, but we’re sure there would be interest from other clubs too. Plus, that’s if Chelsea doesn’t find a way to incorporate him into their squad.

These will be discussion points between him and his parent club when he returns at the end of the season.

Return to his boyhood club

Gallagher spent the 2020/21 season on loan with West Brom and before that was loaned out to Swansea and Charlton. Now, after another season on loan, this time at Palace, it seems the most obvious future for him would be to return to Chelsea. He’s proved what he can do in the Premier League when given the chance and having a player of his quality on your books is a great advantage for The Blues.

Last week it was announced that shareholders of the 20 Premier League clubs voted in favour of allowing five substitutes in the 2022/23 season. Even before this, Thomas Tuchel had been outspoken on this topic stating the English league was the only top league in Europe that didn’t allow more than three substitutes.

Now that he’ll be able to rotate the team more, there’s even more chance that Gallagher will be involved in Chelsea’s first-team squad. The question that Conor will be asking though is how much game time will I get as he’ll be wanting to impress Southgate to be part of the England World Cup squad.

Summary

Do we think he’ll be at Palace next season? We’re going to be realistic and say no, unfortunately not. He’s clearly a class player and as Wayne Rooney pointed out on Monday Night Football yesterday, why would Chelsea try to buy Declan Rice when they have Conor Gallagher ready to fight for his place in the team.

We’re not going to start speculating on who Palace could get to replace him just yet. Let’s enjoy watching him in red and blue for the remainder of the season and then look at Crystal Palace’s transfer targets then.

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Players

Crystal Palace Player Ratings vs Aston Villa

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Vieira & Palace Players Applauding Fans After Villa Match

Jack Butland – 7

There were spells when Villa’s attack challenged Butland but he did well to keep them out. The goal wasn’t his fault as there wasn’t much he could do to stop it from going in.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7

Looked good going forward more as the right wing back and could have even scored if one of his efforts from outside the box had gone in. Maybe should have gotten closer to Digne as his cross led to Villa’s goal.

Cheikhou Kouyate – 6.5

Played out of his usual position and didn’t look 100% comfortable when it came to one on ones. Still, his physical presence was good to have in defence, winning headers and helping Palace not to concede from a set piece for once.

Joachim Andersen – 7

The Dane played a major part in Palace’s goal as he dropped to the back post and crossed the ball back in from Gallagher’s free kick which found Guehi and then Schlupp. Solid defending from him too at the back.

Marc Guehi – 6

Hard to say that he was at fault for Watkins’ goal, but he could’ve done more to put off the Villa striker. Or he should’ve appealed harder for a foul against him as Watkins had a hold of his shirt. He still looked comfortable along with Andersen at the back and got the assist for Palace’s goal heading it on to Schlupp.

Tyrick Mitchell – 6

Back in the starting lineup this week and with the opportunity to attack higher down the left due to the 3-5-2 formation. Didn’t look fully back to his best, but he has been lacking match time.

Conor Gallagher – 6.5

Gallagher got another booking making it his 12th yellow card of the season, something that he’ll need to work on. Although it’s great that he’s always trying to get involved. Had a headed effort on goal that was deflected out for a corner and was allowed to run a lot with Milivojevic sitting as the holding defensive midfielder.

Luka Milivojevic – 7

He controlled the play for Palace in front of the back three allowing Eze and Gallagher to press higher up the pitch. Solid performance from the captain who hasn’t had much game time this season.

Eberechi Eze – 7.5

Eze is looking better each week he plays now and he was one of Palace’s best players in this match. He played some great through balls and even carried the ball well to attack the Villa defence.

Wilfried Zaha – 7

Zaha did well even with the fact that Villa had made him a target in the match. Had a good effort on saved by Martinez and carried the ball well when he had the chance. Had a constant battle with John McGinn throughout the match.

Jean-Phillippe Mateta – 6

Got the nod to start ahead of Edouard but he didn’t get fully involved in the first half. The Frenchman looked better in the second half but was subbed off for Edouard in the 71st minute.

Substitutes

Odsonne Edouard – N/A

Jeffrey Schlupp – 8

Came on and got the goal for Palace to make it level. A real poacher’s instinct to be in the 6-yard box at the right time to poke it home. He did make a poor clearance at the back when Villa attacked at the end though, gifting it straight back to them to come again.

Christian Benteke – N/A

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Crystal Palace Players Out of Contract at the End of the Season

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James McArthur battling with Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The Premier League season is almost over and this means that some players’ contracts will be expiring shortly after it ends. There are currently seven Crystal Palace players out of contract at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The Eagles are in a similar situation to last year when Roy Hodgson left with lots of players out of contract. Last summer saw the likes of Andros Townsend, Wayne Hennessey, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, and Patrick van Aanholt all leaving. It was known that a Palace rebuild was going to be needed at the end of last season and the finances were there to recruit new players.

This year feels a bit different though, Vieira has settled into the job nicely and still doesn’t know his best starting eleven. Whether or not these players will extend in the summer is a question for the Palace owners, the sporting director, the manager, and the players themselves.

So, we’re going to look at each player that will be out of contract and give you our thoughts on whether the club should aim to keep them or let them leave on a free.

James McArthur

James McArthur has had one of his best seasons in a Crystal Palace shirt since arriving in 2014. Vieira made him the club captain when he has played as Milivojevic has dropped down the pecking order in central midfield.

He’s 34 at the moment, 35 in October and this will be a big talking point when it comes to keeping him at the club. Even though he’s one of the oldest in the squad he still puts in a shift every match. He’s also one of the most vocal on the pitch and he speaks well in all his interviews.

We think that it would be a shame to let him go as he brings a lot of experience and is someone the younger players can look up to. We’d give him a two-year contract and rotate him when needed with one of the other central midfielders.

Jordan Ayew

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Jordan Ayew is another hard worker whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season. The Ghanaian forward hasn’t had his best season since arriving from Swansea in 2019 and has been challenged for his position on the right by the new arrival, Michael Olise.

Ayew struggled to get back in the side after coming back from the Africa Cup of Nations as Olise had shown his class in the short space of time he was away. Ayew does bring something different to the team though, he tracks back and can be tricky when running at players.

With him being 31 in September, we think this decision could go either way, both for the club and the player. Olise looks set to be Vieira’s number one for the right attacking position next season and Ayew might want more game time. Though the club could offer him a new deal and he’ll have to fight a starting position whilst being happy that he will probably get less game time than previous seasons.

If he is let go, then we feel like Palace will need to get a replacement, although some others players can play on that right flank.

Cheikhou Kouyate

Kouyate is another central midfielder in his thirties similar to McArthur. He’s had a good season with Palace and even won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal. The former West Ham man is now 32 but he still has high fitness levels.

He’s a versatile player as was shown when he dropped into the right centre-back role of a defensive three against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

For sure, the club won’t allow him and McArthur to leave so we expect at least one of them will stay, if not both. With Senegal making it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he will be a key player for them and will want as much game time as he can get in the run-up to that.

James Tomkins

James Tomkins is now 33 and with the new defensive partnership of Guehi and Andersen hasn’t had a look in. He’s only featured in nine games in all competitions this season and this was mostly when Andersen was out injured.

It was the same story under Hodgson too, he made the same number of appearances in the 2020/21 season. Although he’s got over 100 appearances for The Eagles we think that he’ll move on from the club this summer.

If he does leave, we think it will mean that Palace will need to sign a central defender as Nathan Ferguson is injury-prone and the squad is limited in this area. Although as we mentioned above, if Kouyate stays, he can drop in as a centre back if needed.

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne returned to his boyhood club from Liverpool in 2020 and has impressed this season when Joel Ward was injured. The more game time he’s had, the better he’s looked both defensively and attacking down the right wing.

We’d definitely keep him at the club and even think he should be starting instead of Palace veteran, Joel Ward. When looking at the squad’s salaries though, he is one of the most expensive players only behind Zaha and Benteke.

Maybe the Palace owners will offer him a renewal but at a smaller salary due to him now being two years older since he joined the club. Even if he turned this hypothetical offer down, we’d still be willing to keep him at the club on his current salary as he’s a hard worker and looks like he could be a better player next season.

Jeffrey Schlupp

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Jeffrey Schlupp is also out of contract after arriving from Leicester in January 2017. He played a pivotal role for The Foxes in their amazing Premier League title win in the 2015/16 season and is still a key player for Palace.

His strength and speed are two of his best attributes, especially when Palace play on the counter. He’s the only Crystal Palace player out of contract that is under 30 and we’d be surprised if The Eagles didn’t try to keep him in south London.

Martin Kelly

Martin Kelly is the final Palace player on this list that can leave at the end of the season on a free and we expect that will be the case. Kelly has only made one appearance in the entire season as Palace’s defence has been pretty water-tight and without too many injuries.

He’s been with the club since 2014 and has over 100 appearances in red and blue so it will sad to see him leave. However, we think that it would be the right decision for both parties. Especially as he’s still only 32 so probably has a few more years left playing football.

Extra – Conor Gallagher

We know that Conor Gallagher isn’t a Crystal Palace player, but he’s been key for The Eagles this season. His loan deal from Chelsea ends at the end of May and we’d love to see him join Palace on a permanent deal, however, that’s not looking likely.

Palace Chairman, Steve Parish, has come out and said that he wants to keep Conor, but would Chelsea want to part with this young, talented prospect?

He’s proved what he can do this season and Tuchel has said that he likes him too so surely they’ll find a way to fit him in the first team squad.

Although, with the World Cup happening in November of this year, Gallagher will want as much game time as possible to try to cement his place on the plane to Qatar.

Maybe all parties will look at another loan deal for the season or 6 months. We’ve written more about our thoughts on Gallagher’s future in this article.

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Crystal Palace Player Ratings vs Watford

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Zaha, Olise, Andersen, Hughes celebrating Palace's only goal

Jack Butland – 7 

Filled in Guaita and was never really challenged. A couple of situations where he didn’t seem 100% confident with the ball and went for the big kick, but this is probably down to his lack of game time.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7

Never looked troubled down his side and got forward with Olise when he had the chance to. He’s looked better as the season has gone on and we think Palace will be renewing his contract as he’s one of the players out of contract at the end of June.

Joachim Andersen – 8

Andersen was his cool calm self when under pressure, although it didn’t happen often. He tried some of his killer passes from the back to break Watford’s defensive lines, but none come off in this game.

Marc Guehi – 8

Could’ve had a goal had he converted the two headed efforts he had. Always looked comfortable, but unfortunately, he went off injured in the 71st minute. Hopefully nothing serious as he’s been a rock along with Andersen at the back this season.

Joel Ward – 6.5

Had to go to centre back when Guehi went off and could see that he doesn’t have the same passing quality as Andersen and Guehi. Still, he worked hard for the team as he always does.

Will Hughes – 7

His first start in a while and looked hungry to get involved. He was always committing himself to go in for 50/50 challenges which was great to see. He’ll be wanting to get more game time in the final 3 matches.

Conor Gallagher – 6.5

Played more defensively as Eze was behind the striker in this game which seemed like he wasn’t as involved as he usually is when chasing down everything. Still saw his signs of quality and determination though.

Michael Olise – 7.5

Looked lively on the right and had great footwork even when under pressure. His crossing was on top form with his left foot and on another day he would’ve had a couple of assists had Palace’s headed efforts gone in. Made a couple of poor decisions when he had the chance to shoot himself, but this is something he’ll work on.

Eberechi Eze – 7

Eze played behind the striker and looked more comfortable here than when he’s on the left of the middle three. The fact that he got his first goal in 11 months last weekend clearly helped give him a needed confidence boost. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can offer for the rest of the season and the next one.

Wilfried Zaha – 8

Stepped up and scored the penalty with ease, clearly full of confidence after his late goal last weekend. It was also great to see his trickery when taking on the Watford defence, easily drawing fouls, showing why he’s the most fouled player in the Premier League.

Odsonne Edouard – 7

Clear that he wanted to get as involved as possible which was good to see. He had a great effort that hit the post after going through Foster’s legs and also showed signs of brilliance with great footwork and amazing turns to get away past defenders. He couldn’t get on the scoresheet though which is what all strikers want. But at least by getting a full 90 minutes he would’ve got a taste for playing again.

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