Jody Morris has warned Chelsea that Conor Gallagher could consider leaving Chelsea this summer and says ‘there will be a lot of takers’ for the Stamford Bridge loanee.
Gallagher has enjoyed a breakthrough season on loan at Crystal Palace, scoring eight goals and making three assists in the Premier League and helping the Eagles reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
Palace boss and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has repeatedly praised Gallagher’s contributions at Selhurst Park, while the 23-year-old made his full England debut during the recent international break.
Morris, who was Frank Lampard’s assistant manager at Chelsea, believes Gallagher can be like a ‘new signing’ when he returns to Stamford Bridge but has warned the club that the attacking midfielder could yet decide to leave.
‘Conor Gallagher is certainly up there as far as Young Player of the Season is concerned,’ Morris told Ladbrokes. ‘His performances – not only this season at Crystal Palace, but also at Swansea and West Brom – have been unbelievable.
‘He’s been a top-drawer performer for nearly three years, and he’s taken to the Premier League like it’s nothing. The energy that he gives, the fact that he’s chipping in with goals, and how at home he looks on an international stage… there’s no reason why Chelsea shouldn’t be looking at bringing him into the starting line-up next season.
‘I hope they bring him in with the intention of playing him, though; don’t just bring him back and keep hold of him to play him for 10 or 15 games; you’ve got to look to the future.
‘A lot of Chelsea fans won’t like me saying this, but if you’re Conor Gallagher and you’re looking at your future, you’re thinking “no one is guaranteed to play week-in, week-out at Chelsea”.
‘Conor would want to know that the manager believes in him and is willing to give him an opportunity to showcase his talent in the first team. And, let me tell you, there would be a lot of takers, and I’m talking about serious takers throughout Europe, who’ll be keeping an eye on his situation. He’s certainly put himself in the shop window.
‘He could be like a massive summer signing for Chelsea when he returns to the club at the end of the season; you only have to look at what happened to Mason Mount and his career when he came back from Derby.
‘Tammy Abraham produced as well; there’s really no reason why clubs shouldn’t be giving these players a real opportunity, regardless of whether you’re a top four club or not.’
Morris, who worked with Gallagher during his time as a Chelsea coach, added: ‘Knowing Conor, if he was given an opportunity at the club, he’d take it with both hands and prove to everybody what a top, top player he is.’
As well as helping Crystal Palace reach an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Gallagher has also been influential in the Premier League, with Vieira’s side climbing into the top-half of the table with just seven games remaining.
Over the past six months, Gallagher has been likened to Chelsea legend Lampard and current Blues star Mason Mount, with Morris saying: ‘You see a lot of comparisons between Conor and Lamps and I get it.
‘I’d say Conor is a little bit more energetic in as much as putting himself about the pitch. He’s certainly not more energetic than Frank – although I don’t think many ever were – in terms of arriving in the box.
‘He was just an absolute machine, and when you had the pure class he possessed to convert those chances, and the ability to have such an impact on games in terms of goals scored from midfield, I don’t think anyone can match Frank for that. He’s the greatest goal-scoring midfielder of all-time.
‘But as far as starting the press off and getting on the ball high up the pitch goes, Conor has got the upper hand on someone like a Frank. He’s similar to a Mason [Mount] to be honest, I do think they’re both similar.
‘They can both play slightly higher than a number eight, and can both comfortably slot in that role as well. Players who possess the levels of energy of those boys, as well as the tactical nous, are so vital in this day and age.’
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