'He's a great player': Conor Gallagher really rates 21-year-old Chelsea decided to sell for £18m in the summer

Conor Gallagher opened up about his relationship with fellow Chelsea academy graduate and Crystal Palace co-worker, Marc Guehi.

Speaking to the Palace club website, Gallagher revealed the extent of his personal affiliation with the young defender.

His connection to Guehi goes way back to their days as development players at Cobham.

Both were raised through the Chelsea ranks and shared a similar journey with the England youth teams.

Photo by Buda Mendes – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The pair picked up winners’ medals at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, a squad that also included Callum Hudson-Odoi and two former Blues, George McEachran and Jonathan Panzo.

B(lue)FFs

Gallagher and Guehi then went in comparable directions once they properly stepped into senior football.

Swansea City housed the two young Englishman together briefly during the 2019/20 season.

Guehi had been with the Welsh side since the start, but Gallagher only joined in January after cutting his loan spell at Charlton Athletic short.

Eventually, their paths would cross again as they made the big leap into Premier League football.

After Swansea’s 2020 play-off final defeat, Palace signed Guehi from Chelsea for £18m (Guardian), where the 21-year-old was greeted shortly after by Gallagher, who’d spent the previous term on loan with newly relegated West Bromwich Albion.

Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

Clearly, their friendship off the pitch has helped them on it, as they continue to thrive under Patrick Vieira.

“It’s great fun – me and Marc are really close friends. We grew up at Chelsea together, we played at England together throughout all the age groups,” said Gallagher on his Palace teammate.

“We get along really well and he’s a top player also. The thing is with Marc: he comes across very serious and focused, which he is, but I see another side which is childish Marc.

“It’s very funny and keeps me entertained throughout every day, so I’m happy I’m one of the few that knows about it.

“Around the changing room he’ll do something weird and I’ll be like: ‘What are you doing?!’ He’s not normal – but he’s a nice guy, he’s very focused and he’s a great player as well.”

Back to the Bridge

Chelsea might be envious watching Gallagher and Guehi flourish across the capital.

Yet, they are able to at least recall one of their pupils from Palace in the summer.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Once Gallagher’s loan deal with the Eagles expires, he will almost certainly return to Stamford Bridge, for pre-season training at least.

Guehi could reconvene with the Champions League holders in the future, as there is reportedly a sell-on clause in his contract and the opportunity to purchase him back for the same fee agreed with another club.

Wouldn’t it be great to resemble the band for one final tour!?

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.