WEST BROM boss Sam Allardyce has signalled his intentions to keep Conor Gallagher at the club if they avoid relegation into the Championship.
The 21-year-old has impressed at the Hawthorns since joining from Chelsea on loan in September, with the player featuring in 25 games in all competitions.
And his good form has led to reports that Blues gaffer Thomas Tuchel is keen to promote the midfielder to the first team next term.
Meanwhile Crystal Palace have been linked with a £9million summer swoop for the England youth international.
But Allardyce is desperate for Gallagher to remain in the Midlands, as he believes it will prove more beneficial for him to develop as a player.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Blues, Allardyce told reporters: “If we stay in the Premier League, I’d hope he’d be here next season not at Chelsea.
“I think he’d be better off having another season with us rather than the competition and size of Chelsea’s squad.
“I think his learning and development level has been improved. I’ve seen a good player since I’ve been here.
“I heard about how good he was before I came and think every day and every game he plays in the Premier League he gains more and more experience.
“When you lose more than you win, which he’s experiencing for the first time, it makes you tougher, it makes you more determined.
“And at such a young age to get these disappointments week in and week out could only stand him in good stead about improving his career. He has been a good asset for us.”
Gallagher has spoken of his happiness at being at West Brom following his loan spells at Charlton and Swansea last campaign.
He said: “I was excited to play in the Premier League after a step up from Championship last season. I’ve loved every minute of it. Hopefully I’ll keep developing and improving.
“It’s been a tough season for West Brom so far, so doing the dirty side of the game, the importance of work off the ball [is important].
“Premier League quality will punish you if you switch off, so you need to be concentrated and focused.
“I know people have other views on players going on loan and I’ve been at three different teams, but it’s three different experiences and teams with [different] styles, different managers and players.
“I’ve learnt a lot already in two years. Hopefully I can continue to learn as a player.”