Crystal Palace: £18m star could bring 'more exciting football' to Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira giving instructions to his team

Crystal Palace could potentially become an “even more exciting” team next season if they play Eberechi Eze instead of Conor Gallagher in the No. 10 role, according to The Sun journalist Tom Barclay.

Gallagher has flourished on loan at Selhurst Park this season, but may need to be replaced next term if he returns to his parent club Chelsea this summer.

How have Gallagher and Eze fared this season?

Gallagher was relegated with West Brom in 2020/21, but he has proven this season that he belongs at the highest level.

In 31 Premier League appearances, he has scored eight goals and provided three assists. Only Wilfried Zaha – 13 goals and one assist – has been directly involved in more goals for Patrick Vieira’s side.

According to WhoScored, Gallagher has been Palace’s best player this season as he has been awarded an average match rating of 7.10.

Meanwhile, Eze has had to wait patiently for opportunities after missing the opening three months of the season due to a serious Achilles injury. He has only made 10 top-flight appearances, but finally got his first goal of the campaign against Southampton last month.

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What has Barclay said about Gallagher and Eze?

Barclay has admitted that Palace could miss Gallagher’s energy in midfield, but he has suggested that Eze’s skillset will still ensure that the south London club remain an exciting side to watch.

Speaking initially about Gallagher, Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “If you take him out of the team, by him leaving, as we’re expecting – if you’re expecting the same kind of energy from midfield by just putting Eze in there – he can work on that, but I don’t think it’s really his game as much.

“But, that’s not to say that they couldn’t change their approach, and play even more exciting football by having him in that position, because he’s a really, really good player.”

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Could Eze fill the void left behind by Gallagher?

It is looking increasingly likely that Gallagher will go back to Chelsea, but Vieira may not have to dip into the transfer market to replace him as he already has Eze at his disposal.

Fans have not been able to see much of the £18m-rated Eze over the past year, largely due to his injury setback, which left him sidelined for six months.

However, it should be remembered that he had an excellent debut season at Palace in 2020/21, when he made 34 league appearances, scoring four goals and delivering six assists.

Indeed, it was reported by The Guardian that he was going to be in Gareth Southgate’s provisional squad for the European Championships last year before he got injured.

This highlights the quality that Eze possesses, and if he can get a full pre-season under his belt, there is no reason why he can’t be a suitable replacement for Gallagher in 2022/23, allowing Palace to keep pushing forward after their promising first season under Vieira.

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