The inspired Chelsea and Crystal Palace summer swap deal that could see both land long-term targets

Chelsea and Crystal Palace both look set to lose key players but could benefit from a swap deal.

Chelsea look set for another busy summer of transfer activity as they attempt to catch those challenging for Champions League football. Spending under new owner Todd Boehly could be described as slapdash, although that would be rather kind of a team who have splurged £1billion in two years to finish mid-table and win no silverware.

The simplest, and most expensive, answer for Boehly will be to go again this summer in the hope of finding more Cole Palmers and fewer Mykhailo Mudryks - apologies to the latter. But even with their creative accounting techniques, lengthy contracts and staggered payments, funds are not infinite at Stamford Bridge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Among the endless conveyor belt of transfer speculation last summer were links to Michael Olise. Chelsea thought they were set for a bargain after activating the winger’s £35million release clause but took a blow to the ego after seeing their target reject a move and opt to sign a new contract at Crystal Palace instead.

That contract includes a fresh release clause that will become active this summer, albeit one expected to be far more than £35m. Olise has struggled with injury this season but continued to impress when fit, his 11 goal contributions - seven goals and four assists - coming from just 16 appearances in the league.

Chelsea are thought to remain interested in Olise ahead of this summer and will likely be in the market for a long-term replacement for Raheem Sterling, who will turn 30 in December. They are not the only admirers, however, with Manchester United also keen.

Profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) have started to dominate conversation among Premier League clubs and Chelsea are understandably under the microscope. Those at the club insist there is no danger of a breach but they cannot continue to spend with the same flagrance of the past two years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The value of Olise’s release clause is not known but reports have suggested it could be around £60m. However, Chelsea might be able to sweeten the deal with a former Selhurst Park favourite.

Conor Gallagher only spent one campaign on loan at Palace but gained plenty of admirers in the process, registering an impressive eight goals and three assists in the Premier League. The midfielder won the hearts of his temporary fan base with a string of energetic performances and has only improved since returning to Stamford Bridge.

Gallagher has arguably been one of Chelsea’s best players this season but such is the farcical situation over there that Boehly is thought to be planning for his exit. In a world where money trumps all, the 24-year-old would be seen as ‘pure profit’ on the books, given he rose through the academy and so essentially cost nothing.

It’s the same reason behind potential exits for Armando Broja and Trevoh Chalobah but Gallagher’s situation is different, given he has played regularly this season and often captained his side. Few Chelsea fans want to see Gallagher leave and manager Mauricio Pochettino feels the same, but that seemingly means little.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It seems neither Chelsea nor Palace want to lose Gallagher or Olise respectively, but a swap deal could see both make the best of a tough situation. Olise looks set to leave Selhurst Park amid growing interest, while the return of a fan-favourite loanee in an area they lack quality would benefit them. Furthermore, Gallagher’s energy would be perfectly-suited to Oliver Glasner’s high-octane football.

For Chelsea, the exit of a promising academy graduate would leave a bitter taste, but if it means they can land a long-term target while keeping clear of any PSR danger, it could be seen as a good deal for all. The Blues may have to stump up some cash to even out the deal but it would be far less than any outright purchase.

The potential arrival of Olise would also add some much-needed goals to Chelsea’s front line. So far only Palmer and striker Nicolas Jackson have hit double figures for Premier League goals and with seven for a struggling Palace side, the 22-year-old would be expected to build on that in blue.

Swap deals are very rare in modern football but there is still a good argument for them, if all parties benefit. Should Gallagher be forced out of Chelsea, then a return to the scene of his best loan spell would make sense, while Olise is ready to make the step up and can join a project with plenty of potential.

Whatever happens, this summer will be another busy one at Chelsea. Boehly will hope to improve his signing success rate, otherwise it will be his pocket that suffers.