Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher admits new Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira’s ‘really exciting’ overhaul swayed him as Eagles seal season-long loan move in fifth close-season swoop
- Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher has sealed a season-long loan move to Crystal Palace
- The 21-year-old admitted he was excited by new manager Patrick Vieira’s rebuild
- Gallagher already has close friendships with Nathan Ferguson and Marc Guehi
- The England youth star spent last season in the Premier League with West Brom
Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has admitted that the allure of working with new boss Patrick Vieira and his existing friendships with several stars in the Eagles’ squad convinced him to move to Selhurst Park.
The 21-year-old sealed his second season-long loan move in the Premier League and described himself as ‘buzzing’ to join the club – even though it ensures the highly-rated England youth international will miss the first match of the season.
After becoming Premier League legend Vieira’s fifth signing since his appointment earlier this month, Gallagher told Palace’s website: ‘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.
Conor Gallagher has described himself as ‘buzzing’ after joining Crystal Palace from Chelsea
He will not be involved on the first day of the season, when the Eagles head to Stamford Bridge
‘I feel like I can learn from him and the players around me. I think that’s the main thing.
‘I feel like [playing box to box] suits me perfectly, which is one of the reasons why I came here and is the way he wants to play as well. Hopefully that can help me show what I can do.’
Blues youth product Gallagher contributed two goals and two assists in 32 appearances for West Brom as the Baggies suffered relegation last season, having won the Football League’s Young Player of the Month at Charlton and helped Swansea secure a Championship play-off spot during the previous campaign.
Gallagher will meet a familiar face in centre-back Marc Guehi, who also rose through the ranks at Stamford Bridge before spending two seasons on loan at Swansea, where the pair were temporarily teammates.
The box-to-box midfielder and former master-of-the-art Patrick Vieira are mutual admirers
New Eagles boss Patrick Vieira is about to lead his first campaign as a Premier League manager
Speaking about being reunited with Guehi, Gallagher said: ‘It seems like we can’t leave each other alone.
‘We grew up through the academy at Chelsea, we were at Swansea together and now we’re here, so we’re like best mates. I’m really happy he’s here.
‘Playing for your country is always an honour and we played there together throughout the [England] age groups from Under-17s to Under-21s, so it’s been a great journey. It’s just the start, really.’
Playmaker Eberechi Eze is also no stranger to 2017 Under-17s World Cup winner Gallagher. ‘He was with us at England,’ explained the new arrival.
Palace finished 14th in the table last season, with former manager Roy Hodgson leaving in May
A Blues youth team product, Gallagher lifted the Europa League with his parent club in 2019
‘I know Michael Olise – he was a bit younger than me through the academy at Chelsea. Nathan Ferguson, I’m good mates with him through England. There are a lot of boys here that I’m friendly with.
‘I’m buzzing to be here. I can’t wait to get started – I’m happy to get the deal over the line.’
Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Michael Olise and Remi Matthews have already joined an anticipated attempt at transforming Palace’s style by rookie Premier League boss Vieira.
Gallagher took on Palace last season during a season-long loan as West Brom were relegated
The prospect scored against Palace as West Brom were beaten 5-1 by his new club last season
Gallagher said: ‘I think it’s so exciting. What the manager’s done and the players he’s brought in is really exciting.
‘Hopefully they’ll help the team this season and everyone can show what they can do and that we can show all the fans what we can do this season.’
The 2018/19 Chelsea Academy Player of the Year will not be able to play any part in that progress on the opening day of the season, when Palace visit Chelsea on August 14.
He will hope to make his debut when Palace host Brentford a week later.