Chelsea starlet Conor Gallagher is understood to have agreed to join Crystal Palace on loan for the upcoming season despite having a medical with Leeds United.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a solid spell away from Chelsea last term, making 30 appearances for a West Brom side who ended up getting relegated to the Championship, and everyone involved has now been focusing on keeping that momentum going.
There had been suggestions that he could remain at Chelsea, although with the competition for a place in Thomas Tuchel’s midfield so fierce, a decision was made to let the 21-year-old head out on loan for more top-flight experience.
As first revealed by The Sun’s Tom Barclay, Gallagher has ‘opted’ to take his talents to Selhurst Park for the coming year. However, a source has informed 90min that Gallagher had been on the verge of joining Leeds on a temporary deal, only to have his head turned by a late approach from the Eagles.
That change of heart has left a sour taste in the mouth for the Whites, who believed they had got their man. Gallagher had visited the Leeds training ground, agreed personal terms and even undergone a medical with the Yorkshire club.
Marcelo Bielsa is an admirer of Gallagher’s all-action style and had seen him as a good fit for his high-intensity approach. Newcastle United are other suitors who missed out on a deal.
Gallagher is on track to become Patrick Vieira’s sixth signing of the summer and will join up with former Chelsea man Marc Guehi, who left Stamford Bridge this summer in an £18m deal. Fellow new signing Michael Olise and young winger Jesuran Rak-Sakyi also have experience in the Chelsea academy.
Palace have been tracking Gallagher for some time and came close to signing him last summer, only to take Michy Batshuayi on loan instead. Premier League rules prohibit clubs from signing more than one loan player from a club, and the Eagles chose Batshuayi over Gallagher.
The Belgian striker went on to start just seven Premier League games all season, so you can probably make an educated guess as to whether they regret their decision or not.
Chelsea will hope Gallagher’s loan does not end in similar fashion and instead follows the path set by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who earned himself a spot in England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup following his excellent 2017/18 season on loan with Palace.