Chelsea will not be able to recall Conor Gallagher from Crystal Palace in January due to a clause in the loan agreement.
Gallagher has been one of the Premier League's best performing midfielders this season, registering six goals and three assists in just 15 appearances. His displays are even more impressive considering the limited impact he had on loan at West Brom last season.
Gallagher's short-term future has been the subject of recent speculation as parent club Chelsea find themselves light on numbers in midfield.
N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are both sidelined, and there are also fears about a back injury sustained by Jorginho. In addition, loanee Saul Niguez is struggling to adapt to the rigours of Premier League football.
This has led to some Blues supporters calling for Gallagher to be recalled from Selhurst Park during the upcoming transfer window. However, The Times report this will not be possible.
When the deal was negotiated in the summer a clause was included that would prevent the England international from returning to Stamford Bridge if he had featured in over half of Palace's games - and Gallagher has only missed one match so far.
This comes as a boost for Palace boss Patrick Vieira, who recently revealed his belief that the player's development would be better aided by seeing out his season-long loan spell.
“At Conor’s age what is important is to play week in, week out,” he said. “You are making a career not just based on your talents but on the decisions you are making.
“There were so many clubs [in for] him and he made the right decision because he is playing well and he is surrounded by people who look after him [and] give him the confidence to express himself. He made the right decision coming to us because we are delivering everything he was hoping.”