How Far Will Crystal Palace Go To Keep Conor Gallagher?

Just before half-time at Watford, Tyrick Mitchell volleyed a cross onto Conor Gallagher’s right foot and his instant belter put Palace back in front.  At that moment, it seemed that Chelsea would grab back their midfielder at the first opportunity.  With Gallagher’s loan from Chelsea due to end on May 31, that goal of great beauty made it seem even less likely that Palace could ever be in a position to buy him. 

 

A few weeks on, much has changed.  Even if war did break out in Ukraine, nobody could have seen how it would affect Palace.  We had just overwhelmed Hartlepool to reach the fifth round of the Cup, Wembley was just a twinkle in Patrick’s eye, and the only England player in the Palace squad was Gallagher, who had shown a tiny glimmer of promise thanks to his brief appearance off the bench against San Marino.

Since That Night

  • Russia attacked Ukraine, so Abramovich was sanctioned in Britain for his relationship with Putin
  • Chelsea were banned from putting players on new contracts
  • Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale
  • In order to buy Chelsea, Palace shareholders Blitzer and Harris backed a consortium that’s now on a short-list of just 4 potential buyers
  • Palace team-mates Gallagher, Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell all made highly promising full debuts for England
  • Having edged past Stoke and blown Everton away, Palace earned a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea

Do We Want Gallagher To Sign For Palace?

It’s highly unlikely any Palace supporter would say no.  So let’s assess how he could join us permanently.

Gallagher Needs A Pay Rise – Fast!

While there’s a ban on Chelsea negotiating new contracts, Conor Gallagher’s pay cannot be increased.  According to salarysport.com, his current contract at Chelsea pays him just 17,000 quid a week.  To you and me, that’s a fortune, but when you consider Christian Benteke is on 120,000 a week, you can see Gallagher is underpaid.

Who Does Gallagher Want To Win The Semi-Final?

Palace!  Obviously.  Why?  If Chelsea win, there’s absolutely nothing in it for Gallagher.  If Palace win, he gets to play in the FA Cup Final, with a medal a certainty.  And, if we win, he gets the glory, an experience of a lifetime and maybe even a financial bonus too.

Chelsea Or Palace? Which WOuld Gallagher Prefer?

New owners at Chelsea will likely get the “new contract” ban lifted, but how will Gallagher relish life fighting Mount, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Gilmour, possibly Saul and maybe others, just to set foot on the pitch – how will bench life suit the human dynamo that is Conor Gallagher?

By contrast, at Crystal Palace, he has had a season beyond his (and our) dreams.  He’s an automatic choice when he’s available, he has freedom in the system, he scores goals, he plays with a smile on his face, he’s adored, he plainly loves the fans, he’s had England recognition, and he loves working with and for Patrick.  And Palace have a pay scale that permits him to get a massive pay rise instantly.

Can Palace Afford NOT To Try To Buy Conor Gallagher?

The way Palace are playing, Gallagher’s work and passion are not just a huge plus for the team, they’re critical to our success.  He’s a leader, a one-man press and he’s scored 8 goals and provided 3 assists in just 26 starts.  The statistics are amazing.  Sure, we can buy a midfielder, but replacing CG will be expensive, with absolutely zero certainty of a positive outcome.  For example, Harry Winks is rumoured to want to leave Tottenham and might fancy a regular starting spot at Palace, working with Vieira and filling Gallagher’s shoes.  But he’s 26 (Gallagher’s only 22), and his 10-cap England career looks to be largely in the rear-view mirror.  And he’ll cost at least 20m.

Can Palace Afford To Buy Conor Gallagher?

It’s going to be difficult.  Per frontofficesports.com, in the year to 31 July 2020, thanks largely to the pandemic, Palace lost 76.6m quid.  To keep the club going under this financial strain, the American directors (Blitzer and Harris) have been playing banker and making loans.  Two things are certain.  Whether or not the Americans sell their Palace shares to buy Chelsea, the terms of these loans won’t be friendly – and repayment in full will be required sooner or later.

Who has 40m to invest?  Stepping forward to buy Palace shares, John Textor has been a willing new investor.  Per the Evening Standard, Textor bought almost 40% of CPFC 2010 last year for 87.5m, and it seems he is prepared to buy any shares that Blitzer and Harris are selling.  They currently own 22% between them, worth around 40m although – if Blitzer and Harris have to sell their shares in Palace so they can be investors in the Sebastian Coe consortium to buy Chelsea – their selling price will surely be reduced to reflect the fact that it’s effectively a “forced” sale.

If Blitzer And Harris Leave, Who Controls Crystal Palace?

Buying all of the Blitzer/Harris shares would put Textor in sole control of the club with over 60% ownership – and Steve Parrish is said to be committed to never letting one owner have total control again.  Thankfully, Parrish remembers being a fan when Noades, Goldberg and Jordan all took turns at sole ownership, and look how that went.  To say the least, the current situation is fluid.

How Much Would A Permanent Move For Gallagher Cost The Palace?

Palace currently have the ear of Gallagher, they see him every day and they presumably know if he would even consider becoming a Palace player long-term.  If he would, it seems safe to speculate that – given his age, his unique engine, the sensational season he’s having and his progress into the England squad on the eve of the World Cup – the fee would be probably be 40m to 50m.

How Could Palace Raise That Kind Of Cash?

The solution might lie in the man who laid on Gallagher’s goal at Watford – Tyrick Mitchell.  Tyrick’s improvement over 12 months shows the kind of character and raw talent that can one day make him a great player.  Now, I’d hate to see him go, but …..

They’re Coming For Mitchell

Transfer gossip reports that the state ownerships at Manchester City and Newcastle (even further enriched by the soaring oil price) are each preparing a huge bid for Tyrick Mitchell.  Now, every fan will surely be screaming “No” …. And yet ….  As is clear above, many pieces of this jigsaw puzzle are still on the move, and there’s no certainty where that movement will end.

The best news is that Palace are blessed with a promising set-up that could absorb some of the pain of losing Mitchell.

In the wings, there’s Tayo Adaramola, who’s only 19 and lacks first-team experience but is showing such promise in Tyrick’s position that Patrick already gave him his full debut.  Given Patrick’s patience with youth, it might be that we’d have to wait a while to see him become a first-team regular.  But, in Schlupp, Ward and Clyne, we have three highly experienced options who could all slot in instantly to the left-back berth – all are out of contract on June 30, so Palace would need to take care of that.

Of course, Ward and Clyne are more suited to playing at right-back, but Nathan Ferguson should soon be fit again and, after 2 years injured, will certainly be fresh for a full pre-season this summer to prepare his challenge for a first-team slot on the right of the back 4.  And, with Ferguson’s injury issues and both Ward and Clyne out of contract, Palace might in any case be reasonably expected to already be scouting a new right-back, although that would stretch the transfer budget.

How Much Would We Get For Mitchell?

Tyrick’s value has risen exponentially in just a few weeks this year, and in coming to a valuation we have a good “comparable” in Aaron Wan-Bissaka.  AWB left Palace at age 21, having played 42 games, and he fetched 45-50m.  Tyrick is 22 and has played 56 games, with the add-on that he’s now a full England international – Aaron never got that far.  If there really are two or more bidders, the fee Palace would expect could scale the heights.

OR… What About A STraight Swap With Chelsea – They Get Mitchell, We Get Gallagher?

With the demands of their fixture list, Chelsea need two “stars” for every position.  Chilwell’s long-term injury has exposed a weakness at left-back, and Alonso may not be Tuchel’s cup of tea – he was subbed off immediately last weekend when Brentford went ahead at Stamford Bridge.  Sarr (a central defender) has already had to play some games at left-back.   With Christensen off to Barcelona, with Rudiger and Azpilicueta out of contract, and with Silva 38 in September, a back line rebuild must be on Tuchel’s radar.  Letting Gallagher go in order to get Mitchell is an idea that might well win favour with the German.

What Do You Think?

Would you be in favour of buying Gallagher?

Would you be in favour of letting Mitchell go so we could bring in Gallagher?

Let us know!

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  1. I fell like I would be a huge miss with Mitchell being one of the best Lb’s in the league this season but then for us to get Gallagher for basically free seeing as we got Mitchell from to academy so in my opinion I would take the dead but would be heart broken to see Mitchell leave

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