Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has admitted that the allure of working with new boss Patrick Vieira and his existing friendships with several stars in the Eagles’ squad convinced him to move to Selhurst Park.
The 21-year-old sealed his second season-long loan move in the Premier League and described himself as ‘buzzing’ to join the club – even though it ensures the highly-rated England youth international will miss the first match of the season.
After becoming Premier League legend Vieira’s fifth signing since his appointment earlier this month, Gallagher told Palace’s website: ‘I liked what he said, I liked how he wants to play, how he wants me to play and how he wants the team to play.
‘I feel like I can learn from him and the players around me. I think that’s the main thing.
‘I feel like [playing box to box] suits me perfectly, which is one of the reasons why I came here and is the way he wants to play as well. Hopefully that can help me show what I can do.’
Blues youth product Gallagher contributed two goals and two assists in 32 appearances for West Brom as the Baggies suffered relegation last season, having won the Football League’s Young Player of the Month at Charlton and helped Swansea secure a Championship play-off spot during the previous campaign.
Gallagher will meet a familiar face in centre-back Marc Guehi, who also rose through the ranks at Stamford Bridge before spending two seasons on loan at Swansea, where the pair were temporarily teammates.
Speaking about being reunited with Guehi, Gallagher said: ‘It seems like we can’t leave each other alone.
‘We grew up through the academy at Chelsea, we were at Swansea together and now we’re here, so we’re like best mates. I’m really happy he’s here.
‘Playing for your country is always an honour and we played there together throughout the [England] age groups from Under-17s to Under-21s, so it’s been a great journey. It’s just the start, really.’
Playmaker Eberechi Eze is also no stranger to 2017 Under-17s World Cup winner Gallagher. ‘He was with us at England,’ explained the new arrival.
‘I know Michael Olise – he was a bit younger than me through the academy at Chelsea. Nathan Ferguson, I’m good mates with him through England. There are a lot of boys here that I’m friendly with.
‘I’m buzzing to be here. I can’t wait to get started – I’m happy to get the deal over the line.’
Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Michael Olise and Remi Matthews have already joined an anticipated attempt at transforming Palace’s style by rookie Premier League boss Vieira.
Gallagher said: ‘I think it’s so exciting. What the manager’s done and the players he’s brought in is really exciting.
‘Hopefully they’ll help the team this season and everyone can show what they can do and that we can show all the fans what we can do this season.’
The 2018/19 Chelsea Academy Player of the Year will not be able to play any part in that progress on the opening day of the season, when Palace visit Chelsea on August 14.
He will hope to make his debut when Palace host Brentford a week later