Thomas Tuchel has backed Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fight their way into first-team contention at Chelsea. 

However, the Blues boss was philosophical when asked whether either England international could leave in the transfer window, adding: "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale."

Gallagher appeared as a late substitute in Chelsea's opening-day Premier League win over Everton last week, while Hudson-Odoi was absent from the Blues' squad at Goodison Park.

Both players have been linked with moves away due to the competition for places at Stamford Bridge, with Hudson-Odoi a reported target for Borussia Dortmund and Gallagher widely admired after racking up eight Premier League goals and three assists on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

While Tuchel recognises N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic represent stern competition for Gallagher, he wants to see him realise his undoubted promise at Chelsea.

"Conor fights in central midfield," Tuchel said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham. "To be honest, it is a very tough fight for him because, at the moment, it seems we only have two places in central midfield. 

"Given the amount of players we have for central midfield, it isn't ideal, I agree. But we have to do what's best for the squad, not just for each individual player.

"But at the moment, he is absolutely fine. I am a huge fan of Conor. He is a fantastic guy, and this is what we already knew, in the first weeks of training, he has shown how much of a step he has made through having so much playing time.

"It is a very, very normal situation and his development is that at the moment, after some fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there is a little dip in his form and freshness. 

"On top of that, there's a huge competition with N'Golo, Jorgi and Kova, who are used to playing with each other. 

"This is also life in a big club like Chelsea, so everything is in its right place. We are happy with him. He keeps on fighting, and this is what he does. I think he has everything to become very important in the next years at Chelsea."

Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga on several occasions, having only started 32 Premier League games for Chelsea since his 2018 debut, but Tuchel is also keen to hold onto him.

"Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome," Tuchel said. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. 

"I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. 

"But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."

But with over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Tuchel refused to rule out a change in the club's strategy.

"In general, nobody is for sale,", Tuchel added. "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale. 

"It depends on what the player wants, how bad the player wants it, what we think about who is ready to pay a certain amount of money, and then maybe everybody is for sale."

Erik ten Hag can lead Manchester United to a Premier League title challenge next season, according to Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira.

Ten Hag has enjoyed a fine start to his first pre-season at Old Trafford, with United racking up comfortable victories over Liverpool and Melbourne Victory during their tour of Asia and Australia, netting four goals in each game.

United missed out on Champions League qualification at the end of a dismal 2021-22 season, posting their lowest Premier League points tally (58), but hopes are high that Ten Hag can revitalise the side.

The club have been making moves in the transfer market in a bid to turn things around, adding Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, former Tottenham and Brentford midfielder Christian Eriksen, and agreeing a deal for versatile Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

Speaking as his team prepared for a friendly against United at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Vieira said there were already signs the Dutchman had improved the Red Devils. 

"I think when you look at the first game they played against Liverpool and the game that they had against Melbourne, it looked like the new manager has started to implement the way that he wants the team to play," the former Arsenal captain said.

"But you just need to look at the individual talent that you have in that team and to believe that, you know, United, they used to play to win the Premier League.

"I think this year they will be there, trying to get the spot for the Champions League or win the title."

Meanwhile, Palace's hopes of building on their 12th-placed finish last season appear to have been dealt a huge blow, with last term's loan star Conor Gallagher set to fight for his place at Chelsea.

Only Wilfried Zaha (14) scored more Premier League goals than Gallagher's eight for Palace last season, and only Michael Olise (five) bettered the midfielder's tally of three assists for the Eagles. 

But with Gallagher declaring last week he was desperate to earn playing time at Stamford Bridge in the upcoming campaign, Vieira concedes Palace will have to do without his talents.

"At the moment I don't think there is any chance because he is a Chelsea player," he said of a potential return for Gallagher. 

"He did fantastically well for us, but he is in pre-season with Chelsea and honestly we wish him all the best. I don't think there is a way to get him back."

Thomas Tuchel says his decision to loan out Conor Gallagher has been vindicated, with the England international returning to be a "big asset" at Stamford Bridge next season.

Gallagher is yet to play a first-team minute for boyhood club Chelsea, having spent the past two seasons on loan in the Premier League at West Brom and Crystal Palace.

The midfielder was involved in 11 goals in the 2021-22 season with Palace, a tally only Wilfried Zaha (15) bettered for Patrick Vieira's side in the league.

Gallagher revealed earlier in the week that Chelsea boss Tuchel had offered assurances he viewed the 2022-23 campaign as a breakthrough opportunity, having earned his chance after impressive loan spells.

The 22-year-old caught the eye in his first outing in the United States with the Blues, who defeated Mexican side Club America 2-1, and Tuchel again backed the academy graduate.

"Conor trains at a really high level, and you can clearly see it was the right decision to let him go on loan," Tuchel said of Gallagher, who Everton are reportedly interested in.

"He made a huge step in his development at Palace and became an England player. It was a very good start and a good match for him.

"Now it's important he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move and when not to move, and his work rate is outstanding. He can be a big asset for us."

Mason Mount secured the victory in Chelsea's pre-season opener after a Reece James own goal had cancelled out Timo Werner's strike, and the presence of Ben Chilwell served as another positive note for Tuchel.

Chilwell missed a large part of the 2021-22 campaign, playing just 541 Premier League minutes, after requiring knee surgery before returning on the final day of the season against Watford.

"I'm super happy that he's back," Tuchel added. "It's a difference from training to playing a game and he will take time, but he will get there because he deserves it and we will support him on his way back.

"I'm happy that nobody's injured after a very physical game and a very physical two weeks."

While Mount and Werner were on target, Michy Batshuayi and Kai Havertz squandered presentable opportunities but Tuchel expects players to find their feet in time.

"Timo played 45 minutes like everybody else and Timo scored," the German continued. "That's what counts and from there we go. There is always stuff to improve, but it's the first match.

"Kai had a big chance, Michy had a big chance, Timo took the chance and Mason did also.

"I count on the fact that as they become more experienced, they maybe become more calm and adapt more and more.

"They're still young players and what we want from them is that they stay confident, stay focused, and do what they need to do as strikers."

Chelsea face Major League Soccer side Charlotte FC, Arsenal and Udinese to conclude their pre-season campaign ahead of their Premier League opener at Everton on August 6.

Conor Gallagher has no plans of leaving Chelsea this transfer window, labelling the upcoming season as the season to make his breakthrough after support from Thomas Tuchel.

Gallagher is yet to make a Premier League appearance for boyhood club Chelsea, though he has impressed on his last two top-flight loan spells with West Brom and Crystal Palace.

The England international managed 11 goal involvements in the 2021-22 season with Palace, a tally bettered only by Wilfried Zaha (15) for Patrick Vieira's side in the league.

With the upcoming Qatar World Cup in November, Gallagher understands the importance of regular first-team minutes in the 2022-23 season as he looks to make his mark at Stamford Bridge.

N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Gilmour and Mason Mount are among his midfield competitors at Chelsea, but Gallagher expects to be in the running for the starting XI.

"I feel like this is the season," he told reporters. "I've been a Chelsea fan my whole life, my family have, it's been a dream to play [for Chelsea] but I want to try and impress, and play as much football as I can and affect the game when I'm on the pitch.

"[Tuchel] said he wants me to be part of the squad and to prove myself in pre-season, so that's the plan. I'm happy with that and just willing to work as hard as I can to prove to him that I can play for Chelsea.

"It's what I wanted to hear, it was a nice phone call that we had and it gave me a clear plan of pre-season and where I'm going to be. It was great to hear."

Gallagher was quick to credit the influence of Vieira at Palace, expressing his gratitude for the efforts the coaching staff at Selhurst Park made to improve him.

Tuchel has added more international experience to his ranks, with England international Raheem Sterling joining Chelsea, and Gallagher hopes to improve alongside world-class players.

"Everyone wants to play as much as they can, but I'm willing to work as hard as I can to be on the pitch as much as possible," Gallagher said.

"There's world-class players in the squad and it's obviously a tough team to get into, but I feel like if that challenge is there, I think I'd be a bit silly not to take it," he added.

"With Chelsea being my club as well that I've supported, it's very exciting.

"I'm very keen [to play at the World Cup] because every English player wants to play for England and in a World Cup would be very special. And of course, it's very important that I'll be playing games and performing.

"The call-up was a very proud moment, for sure. But it didn't change the way I thought of myself or anything.

"It was nice to get that recognition and belief from the manager. It's very important to stay humble and do everything you can to perform well."

Mount was one of the first Chelsea players to welcome the arrival of Sterling on Wednesday, and Gallagher echoed his team-mate's sentiments as he reflected on the experience the forward will bring to the side.

"I think it's brilliant. It will only benefit Chelsea and himself," Gallagher said of the Sterling signing.

"Everyone's very excited for him to be playing and I know the fans are very excited as well. He's a great professional, very relaxed off the pitch, and does the right things.

"I feel like the young lads feel like they can talk to him as well because he's got a lot of experience in England and in the Premier League. So yeah, it's a massive signing, and I'm sure he's going to do his thing when he's here."

Son Heung-min can count himself unlucky after the Tottenham star missed out on a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year.

Spurs forward Son scored 23 Premier League goals in the 2021-22 season, sharing the competition's Golden Boot award with Mohamed Salah.

The Liverpool talisman is included on the list of six nominees, alongside team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane.

Son's strike partner Harry Kane does make the cut, while Kevin de Bruyne is the sole representative of champions Manchester City.

His team-mates Bernardo Silva and Rodri may also consider themselves hard done by, having both enjoyed wonderful campaigns.

Cristiano Ronaldo could not take Manchester United into the Champions League on his return to the club, but his 18 league goals have seen him receive a nomination.

The PFA also confirmed the list of nominees for the Young Player of the Year award, with City attacker Phil Foden joined by Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and his club-mate Emile Smith Rowe.

That trio will go up against Chelsea pair Conor Gallagher, who shined on loan at Crystal Palace this season, and Reece James, as well as Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, for the award.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

Thomas Tuchel has revealed he explained to Conor Gallagher in person why Chelsea could not allow the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder to play in their FA Cup semi-final.

Chelsea meet Palace in the last four of the competition at Wembley on Sunday, but breakout star Gallagher will be merely a spectator.

The England international belongs to Chelsea but is yet to make a senior appearance for the club, instead establishing himself as a top Premier League midfielder for Palace this season.

Gallagher has scored eight goals and provided five assists in all competitions in 2021-22, including two assists in four FA Cup matches prior to the semis.

That sort of form shows why Chelsea could not accommodate Palace's request to allow him to play this weekend. The Blues have won both matches against Palace in his absence this season, extending a winning run in the fixture to nine games.

"I had the chance to speak to Conor and I could also see his frustration," Tuchel said ahead of the match. "We met some weeks ago, after the international break, by coincidence in a restaurant.

"We had a chat, and the subject came up. I apologised, because I know how competitive he is, and I like him a lot. I know his character very well, and it was a pleasure to have him here in pre-season.

"This is the way it is. We play to win the game. The rules were clear when we made the loan.

"I can totally understand Patrick Vieira and the disappointment of Conor, but these were the rules when we made the loan, and we don't want to suffer from our rules."

 

Chelsea must still take on an England international brought through their academy, however, with Marc Guehi a permanent Palace signing last year.

Guehi, like Gallagher, has impressed at Palace, while Tino Livramento has been one of Southampton's star performers this season, but Tuchel explained their sales could not be reassessed with hindsight.

"It's a decision we took together. We are happy about these decisions," he said. "We cannot go back and reflect, because at the point where we took the decision it was the right thing to do, given the circumstances.

"It's very individual decisions. For Tino Livramento, for example, we had a plan and we preferred a loan, but he saw his future to go, and the situation was then better to agree to the sale.

"For Marc, it is a fantastic development. It's very hard or maybe even impossible to say if we had kept him he would be better or worse or the same. Maybe he needed exactly that, maybe he needed a change of environment, maybe he needed a different club, maybe he needed a bigger role, more minutes to develop your full potential.

"It just tells you over and over again that if you trust younger players and if you have a role for them, they can on a very regular level match your expectations or even over-perform.

"It's nice to see there are so many Chelsea players out there in every league. We are very well aware of it, and it's also nice to play against them and see them develop."

Chelsea still have academy graduates in their first team, with Mason Mount leading the way in terms of goal involvements (25 – 11 goals, 14 assists) this term.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (31), Reece James (30), Callum Hudson-Odoi (28) and Trevoh Chalobah (26) have each made more than 25 appearances for the Blues in 2021-22.

"We will always use as many academy players as possible," Tuchel said.

"Like I said many times before, it makes the club very special and makes every team in the world very special if you have the mix between world-class players, between big personalities from abroad, from outside the club, with the academy boys.

"I think it's very important also with the academy boys to match the level, to realise the level of commitment, of professionalism of players who come from other clubs, who bring the best of their cultures.

"It's very, very important for our youngsters to accept that mix and accept that challenge. Then it can be very special. This is what makes teams special, that there are players from the academy."

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira bemoaned Chelsea's decision to not allow loanee Conor Gallagher to feature in the FA Cup semi-final, claiming the midfielder will be "the only one who will lose".

Gallagher moved on a season-long loan from Chelsea to Selhurst Park at the start of the season and the midfielder has starred for the Eagles, who made the last four of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Everton.

The 22-year-old's performances also earned him his England debut in November and have led to suggestions he could fill a midfield void for Thomas Tuchel's side next campaign with N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho not getting any younger.

But Chelsea have refused Palace's request for special dispensation to allow Gallagher to play against his parent club in the FA Cup on April 17, with FA rules preventing loanees from featuring against the side they are contracted to.

Vieira was left bemused by the decision as he insisted Gallagher would be the only player punished by the refusal.

"It's not the best rule because the only one who will lose is Conor," the Frenchman said.

"There's a semi-final, it's a really exciting game about how you will manage yourself and prepare yourself to play that game, then there's playing that kind of game and the importance of it.

"It's an experience the player is missing and I'm disappointed for him. He has played all the games so far and if there's somebody who deserves to be in the semi-final, it's him because of his performances, so I'm disappointed he won't be able to play.

"The decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is to play these kinds of games. We have as a group an opportunity to play an important game and that game would have given him more confidence and belief. We could lose but for him to have been on the field is what he needs to keep developing himself.

"Since he has been with us, he has been fantastic and for him not to have a chance to get involved in that game, it is something frustrating for his development.

"I feel for him because he wanted to play in that game –every player would want to play in that game."

Vieira also believes the impact of the FA Cup last-four draw has been clear to see on Gallagher in training.

"The next day in training he was affected by that," he continued. "He knew straight away that it was a game that he would not have the chance to get involved in. We feel for him.

"He put his head back into training straight away. It will be more difficult when we enter the week of the game.

"It will be challenging for him, looking at the team, preparing himself and him not getting involved. That will be challenging for him."

Kylian Mbappe looks set to end one of the biggest transfer sagas of recent seasons by penning his deal with Real Madrid next week.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker will reportedly move to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It will mark the end of a lengthy pursuit by Los Blancos, despite the Ligue 1 club's efforts to keep their star man.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID CLOSING IN ON MBAPPE

Mbappe will confirm his future in a matter of days by putting pen to paper on a contract with Real Madrid, claims Marca.

The France international was pursued by Los Blancos last year, but instead remained with Paris Saint-Germain to see out the rest of his contract.

That expires at the end of this campaign, and despite PSG's resistance, the forward will confirm his future at Santiago Bernabeu with a free move before the month is up.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have locked a deal in place for the capture of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. City look to have beaten off several European rivals for the Leeds-born Norway international, and are now set to discuss personal terms.

- Scotland international Kieran Tierney is set to be the subject of a move from Madrid, claims 90min. The Arsenal star has helped form the bedrock of a Gunners revival this term and his performances have not gone under-the-radar when it comes to Los Blancos and their interest.

- Antonio Conte is willing to consider an extension at Tottenham, providing the club can show that they have "vision", says the Guardian. The Italian has endured a topsy-turvy tenure so far in north London, but remains one of the most respected coaches in the game.

- Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher is unsure where his future lies following his success on loan at Selhurst Park this season, according to ESPN. The Chelsea man is with the Eagles on a year-long deal, and has picked up England honours during his tenure.

- Atletico Madrid are thinking about a move for Barcelona's Sergi Roberto. According to Fichajes, the midfielder is frustrated at his lack of consistent game-time and LaLiga's champions could swoop for him.

When watching games from pretty much any league in the world, there is a reasonable chance one of the players featured will be described as "on loan from Chelsea".

Such is the volume of players the recent FIFA Club World Cup winners send out on loan each season, they have even had their own WhatsApp group to keep in touch, as revealed a few years ago by Patrick Bamford.

The Leeds striker, who was on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea at the time, said: "The loan department set it up and allowed people in. Sometimes it drains your battery when everyone is messaging each other."

It had been seen as a ploy for the London club to hoard players for several years before selling them on for a profit once they had established themselves, but in recent times, especially with youngsters who came through the youth ranks at Cobham, it seems the chance of a first-team appearance isn't as fanciful as it once was.

The likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James went on to become regular first-teamers after successful loan spells elsewhere.

Conor Gallagher has been loaned out by Chelsea four times and is currently turning out for Palace, earning valuable Premier League minutes, just as he did last season at West Brom.

The 22-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for the Blues, but in light of his performances for the Eagles, his long wait could potentially be over next season.

Ahead of Chelsea's trip to Selhurst Park to face Palace on Saturday, where Gallagher will be ineligible to play against his parent club, Stats Perform takes a look at whether he could indeed have a future at Stamford Bridge.

Little by little, Gallagher impresses Tuchel

Speaking in December, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel said: "We love Conor. We are convinced about him.

"We took the decision for Conor because when we looked at the midfield - Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante - he was considered number four in the group.

"Conor knew this all the way. An opportunity came up where he could clearly see more minutes and more responsibility."

Tuchel ended up signing Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid, but the Spaniard has failed to make an impact during his time in England.

Gallagher, meanwhile, has scored seven goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season, including braces against Everton and West Ham, as well as a goal and an assist in Palace's shock 2-0 win at Manchester City in October.

It has been a lengthy journey already for the player, though, having been loaned to Charlton Athletic in 2019.

He impressed so much that Chelsea cut his loan short in the January window as, despite Gallagher's performances, Charlton were struggling in the Championship and he was instead sent to Swansea City, who were challenging for promotion.

Although he failed to score during his time in Wales, he still impressed then Swans manager Steve Cooper – who had managed England's U17s to World Cup glory in 2017 – as he grabbed five assists in his first nine games at the Liberty Stadium.

The next logical move was the Premier League, and Gallagher was loaned to West Brom for the 2020-21 campaign, where he made 32 appearances in all competitions, before heading to Selhurst Park for another season of top-flight football.

Although he performed well at West Brom, Gallagher has undoubtedly stepped up a gear under the tutelage of Palace's Patrick Vieira, and even earned his first senior England cap when he came on as a substitute in the 10-0 thrashing of San Marino in November.

It has not just been a case of him looking good among his team-mates at Palace. Gallagher actually stacks up well against most Premier League midfielders.

Only Arsenal's Emile Smith-Rowe and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United (eight) have scored more this season than Gallagher's seven, while only Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan has a higher expected goals rate (6.22) than Gallagher's 5.47, which is based on the quality of the chances for a player.

Like Mason, can Gallagher mount a challenge at Chelsea?

It is hard to ignore the fact that Gallagher's improvement this season has come under a manager who was one of the best midfielders in the world during his playing days in Vieira, much like Mount grew significantly while working under Frank Lampard both at Derby County and Chelsea.

Mount's is clearly the path that Gallagher should aim to tread. From being a promising youngster out on loan, he became an integral part of a European and world championship winning side.

Gallagher can take heart from the fact that Tuchel has already expressed his admiration, and the German has been happy to continue to give young players chances where he can, but it remains a place that Gallagher will have to earn.

Compared to Chelsea midfielders who have played more than five games this season, Gallagher measures well on chance creation, with only Mount (2.13) creating more per 90 minutes than his 1.61.

In terms of profile, Gallagher is certainly more in the mould of a Mount than any other of Chelsea's current midfielders. Both look to get forward whenever possible, and have more touches in the opposition box per 90 than any of the Blues' other options (Mount = 5.21, Gallagher = 3.07).

They also both have significantly more penalty box entries per 90 than any other Chelsea midfielder with over five Premier League appearances this term (Mount = 7.78, Gallagher = 5.22), with the next highest being Kante with 2.72, and a higher xG excluding penalties per 90 (Mount = 0.24, Gallagher = 0.27), with the next highest being Loftus-Cheek with 0.14.

The issue with Gallagher being so similar to Mount is that he'd likely find himself being in an either/or situation. Tuchel prefers to have two controlling players in his midfield three, usually two of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic, so it seems unlikely he'd start Mount and Gallagher together very often.

It therefore seems like, should Tuchel indeed look to utilise him at Stamford Bridge next year, it will be Ross Barkley's place in the squad that Gallagher slots into, and the former Everton man has only made four starts in all competitions this season, two of which came in the EFL Cup.

The question then becomes one of whether Gallagher is happy with that role after two seasons of regular football in the Premier League and with an England spot to fight for ahead of the World Cup in November.

For the time being, it is not something that the player needs to focus on too much. He can simply enjoy the game time he is getting in south London and try to perform to the sort of levels that will give Tuchel a decision to make when planning for next season.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has joined London rivals Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal.

Gallagher will spend a second season on loan in the Premier League, having made 32 appearances for West Brom last term.

The 21-year-old, who is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blues, will link-up with former Chelsea team-mate Marc Guehi, who made a permanent move to Selhurst Park earlier in July, in a new era for the Eagles under Patrick Vieira.

Gallagher said: "I'm buzzing to be here. I can't wait to get started, I'm happy to get the deal over the line.

"I spoke to the manager, I liked what he said, I liked how he wants to play, how he wants me to play and how he wants the team to play. I feel like I can learn from him and the players around me."

Gallagher, an England Under-21 international, has also spent time on loan at Charlton Athletic and Swansea City and becomes Palace's fifth new signing.

Palace chairman Steve Parish, who has already brought in Guehi, Michael Olise, Remi Matthews and Joachim Andersen, expressed his excitement over Gallagher's arrival.

"I am delighted Conor has chosen to come to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan after some impressive performances in the Premier League last season," Parish said.

"We very much look forward to him joining the squad as we continue to build towards the new season."

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