Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel explains plan for Conor Gallagher next season

Tom Gott
Gallagher is highly rated at Stamford Bridge
Gallagher is highly rated at Stamford Bridge / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he wants young midfielder Conor Gallagher as part of his squad next season.

The 22-year-old academy graduate has excelled out on loan with Crystal Palace this season, earning himself a spot in Gareth Southgate's England form on the back of a season which has so far yielded eight goals and five assists in 32 appearances.

Gallagher will watch from the sidelines on Sunday as the two clubs butt heads in the FA Cup semi-final - Chelsea blocked Palace's request to play the midfielder because they feared his good form could come back to bite them.

Ahead of the game, Tuchel was asked about Gallagher's long-term future, and admitted he has a strong desire to integrate him into Chelsea's first team plans.

“I believe Conor can be a part of our squad and can play a role with us," the boss said. "But I am not the only one to decide. We need to speak after the season with everybody, speak after the season about what Conor wants, we need to see what the situation is and what role we have for him that he can fight for.

“There needs to be something to fight, a role and perspective of where you are, where you can be, what you need to achieve. So we have to be very clear with him and he needs to be clear with us. Then we will sort it out. His development is extraordinary and outstanding.

“He is one of the key players at Crystal Palace and made a huge step in his development up front. He was a pleasure to coach in pre-season – he has so much positive energy, energy in general, and such work rate to give that he can have a big influence.”

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Tuchel already has a lot of midfield options at his disposal, although 90min has learned that space for Gallagher could be made if former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, now in charge of Lazio, follows up his strong interest in Jorginho.

The 30-year-old is approaching the final 12 months of his contract and, as it stands, Chelsea are not expected to make a long-term commitment to the Italian.

Alongside the returning Gallagher, Tuchel also hopes to sign at least one new midfielder, with Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni and West Ham's Declan Rice among their top targets.