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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Patrick Vieira has already solved Thomas Tuchel's major N'Golo Kante concern amid takeover worry

  Conor Gallagher's impressive display against Manchester City once again proved to Thomas Tuchel that the 22-year-old is ready to s...


Conor Gallagher's impressive display against Manchester City once again proved to Thomas Tuchel that the 22-year-old is ready to stake his claim for a place in Chelsea's first-team setup. The Cobham graduate performed admirably as Crystal Palace held out a goalless draw against Pep Guardiola's side at Selhurst Park.

Gallagher's latest eye-catching display continued to prompt comparisons to N'Golo Kante for his engine, immense quality through the thirds and excellence in transitions. The England international's performance was reminiscent of Kante's outing against City in the Champions League final a few months ago.

Gallagher thrived against the Premier League champions as he won eight duels, completed four dribbles and provoking three fouls in the process. The 22-year-old, who admitted in his post-match interview that he couldn't feel his legs having run so much, ran an eye-watering 12.5km and completed 14 sprints.

So, with Kante's contract with the Blues expiring at the end of next season, a first-team opportunity beckons for one of the club's most impressive loanees. Gallagher will have the perfect opportunity to become the Frenchman's understudy upon his return from loan having proven himself at Palace.

Gallagher has scope to grow into the perfect heir to Kante's throne; the 30-year-old has suffered numerous injuries lately and there are understandably more and more questions regarding his fitness at this level as a result.

Kante has already missed eight games through injury - excluding Covid - for the Blues this season and he's often been protected for the European nights under the lights. The physical condition of either midfielder would meet Chelsea's demand for a box-to-box midfielder that not only excels in recovering possession but also instigating attacks.

And while Gallagher could also stake a claim for a role as one of the support attackers in Tuchel's system because of his late runs into the box, the Englishman's similarity to the way Kante operates as an eight is far more desirable.

There is always going to be an array of attacking talent that the German boss can choose from to insert into his frontline but to find a Kante successor will be one of the toughest tasks about this squad rebuild and Gallagher is someone who looks as if he will fit the bill.

When considering the uncertainty around Chelsea's imminent takeover, Gallagher, who has a contract with Chelsea until 2025, is the most sensible replacement on and off the pitch. Patrick Vieira explained how Gallagher's performance was pivotal from a Palace perspective , picking up a crucial point against one of Europe's most intimidating sides in the process.

"I can't stop him. I can’t stop him and I don't want to stop him because this is the energy that pushes the fans as well to be behind us," the former Arsenal midfielder said.

"The last ten minutes were really difficult but the fans’ support made it really easy to manage those last ten minutes. Conor, this is his strength and this is why we love him. I think Conor, Cheikhou and Jeffrey [Schlupp] - all three of the midfielders are going to need a couple more days off than anybody else because they ran a lot.

"They ran behind the ball and sometimes you have the feeling that you’re running but you can’t get there but they didn’t give up and this is a really good sign for us."

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