There may be no involvement for Conor Gallagher at Wembley this weekend but Thomas Tuchel believes the chances are high that the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder could return to feature in his Chelsea squad next season.
The 22-year-old cannot play against his parent club in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday due to the terms of the loan agreement between the two London sides, with Tuchel admitting in his pre-match press conference that he had apologised for the unfortunate situation in person when they bumped into one another at a restaurant recently.
While it means the Eagles will be without one of their most influential players of the campaign and leaves Gallagher frustrated at missing out, Tuchel has offered more positive news regarding his plans for the England international.
Having been impressed by the attitude and application of Gallagher during pre-season, the German has enjoyed watching him enjoy an outstanding campaign at Selhurst Park, with eight goals and five assists to his name, as well as an international debut.
Such strong form has led to plenty of speculation regarding the Chelsea Academy graduate’s future and Tuchel insists that those conversations can wait until the summer, even though he is clearly making plans to accommodate the youngster in his thinking moving forward.
‘I believe that Conor can be a part of our squad and can play a role with us but I’m not the only one to decide,’ said the Chelsea head coach.
‘We need to speak after the season with everybody and we need to see what Conor wants. We need to see what the situation is, what role we have for him and what he can fight for because you need something to fight for.
‘You need to have a role and a perspective about where you are, where you can be and what to achieve. We have to be very clear with him, he needs to be clear with us and we will sort it out.’
While it may be too soon to pinpoint exactly what that role in the Chelsea team might be, Tuchel is convinced that Gallagher can continue the incredible upward trajectory of his fledgling career and be an influential figure at Stamford Bridge.
‘His development is extraordinary and outstanding,’ added the boss. ‘He is one of the key players at Crystal Palace and he has made a huge step in his development up front.
‘He was a pleasure to coach in pre-season - he has so much positive energy, so much energy in general and so much work-rate to give that he can of course be a big help and a big influence.’