Chelsea teammate emerges as Gallagher alternative for Crystal Palace

Steve Parish has revealed that Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is an option for Crystal Palace if they cannot extend Conor Gallagher’s loan.

Gallagher has arguably been the Eagles’ player of the season with his fine form earning him his England debut in November.

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He came through the Chelsea youth academy and has also spent time on loan with West Brom and Swansea.

Crystal Palace are eager to keep hold of the 22-year-old, with chairman Parish revealing his desire to extend Gallagher’s loan spell at Selhurst Park.

Parish told the Mirror: “Of course. But the player is the number one person.

“He knows exactly what his priorities are and he knows exactly what he’s doing.

“I’m sure at the end of the season. Conor will work out what he thinks the best thing for him is and that will be the catalyst for it.”

Parish says that Loftus-Cheek is being eyed up as an alternative should they fail to keep hold of Gallagher.

“If there’s an opportunity to get him or even Ruben Loftus-Cheek then of course,” he continued.

“These are top players and it’s been brilliant having him here this year, not just because of what he does on the pitch. Also because of the way he is around the place, the way he is with the media and supporters and because of how special a lad he is.”

Gallagher will have to compete with N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Loftus-Cheek for a starting berth if he chooses to stay at Chelsea next season.

He was ineligible to play against his parent club in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final. Palace missed the tireless midfielder as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

Loftus-Cheek starred for Thomas Tuchel’s side, scoring the opening goal of the match.

Eagles manager Patrick Vieira admitted that he was baffled by the decision not to let Gallagher play at Wembley.

He said: “The decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is to play these kind 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.

“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.”

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