Chelsea youngster Conor Gallagher is being strongly tipped to make it into the club’s first-team next season when he returns from his loan at Crystal Palace.
The 21-year-old has been one of the stand-out performers of the season in the Premier League, establishing himself as a quality attacking midfield player after getting the chance to play regularly at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea fans will be excited to see their academy producing another top talent like this, following the success of players like Mason Mount, Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah in the last couple of years.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has heaped praise onto Gallagher and tipped him for a first-team role when he returns to Stamford Bridge next season.
“I would imagine he’ll be back at Chelsea next year, then it’s up to him to get in the team and stay in the team,” Chadwick said.
“Chelsea have obviously been renowned for spending millions on players from overseas, but their academy is now as good as anything in the country.
“You look at the likes of Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher … he’s been on top form for Crystal Palace in the Premier League so you would imagine he’ll have an opportunity to fight for a place.
“The goals he scores, the way he influences games, you can see him starting for Chelsea next season and making a spot in the England squad his own as well.”
Chadwick also commented on one “surprise” situation at Chelsea, with Cesar Azpilicueta nearing the end of his contract.
It comes as Chelsea also look like they could lose other key defenders in Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, but Chadwick singled out Azpilicueta as an important player to tie down.
“It’s a real surprise Azpilicueta’s contract has been allowed to run down,” Chadwick said. “It seems as if Tuchel’s got his own ideas and I’m sure there’s things in place to replace them. He’s got his own way of playing so maybe he’s got ideas in mind about players being better suited to playing three at the back.
“It is a strange situation. Obviously Thiago Silva’s a wonderful player, had an incredible career though he might not have a huge amount of time left at this level.”