Chelsea have turned down Crystal Palace’s request to play Blues loanee Conor Gallagher when the two sides meet in the FA Cup semi-final next weekend.
Gallagher has been an instant hit at Selhurst Park, bagging eight goals and five assists in all competitions and even earning himself a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad since joining on loan from Chelsea in the summer.
As part of his loan contract, Gallagher is not allowed to face his parent club this season, but Goal note that Palace tried their luck and asked to play the 22-year-old midfielder in the semi-final.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea weren’t too keen on the idea of coming up against an in-form Gallagher in such an important match and rejected the request.
Gallagher did not ask to play and was not involved in any of the negotiations between the two clubs.
Chelsea have allowed loanees to play against them in the past. The 2018/19 season saw Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori line up against their parent club in the Carabao Cup fourth-round, with Frank Lampard’s Derby County successfully convincing Chelsea to let the duo play.
However, that was a Championship side in the early stages of a cup competition, and not a top-tier team in the late stages of the prestigious FA Cup.
Chelsea, and manager Thomas Tuchel, are known to be huge fans of Gallagher and even debated keeping him around this season, only for the 22-year-old to ask to leave on loan for more guaranteed minutes.
It’s a plan which worked out pretty well for everyone involved and the feeling now is that Gallagher could get a genuine shot in Tuchel’s first team next season, with the Blues having already knocked back requests from across Europe to sign Gallagher permanently.