In Focus: Palace jewel Conor set to Mount bid for Chelsea first team
Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has been thriving on loan at Crystal Palace this season with Patrick Vieira helping elevate the young Englishman's game.
Gallagher has six goals and three assists in the Premier League this term, scoring twice in Palace's 3-1 win against Everton on Sunday.
Across London, Blues star Mason Mount has returned to form and bagged six strikes and four assists under Thomas Tuchel this campaign.
With both players proving their worth in England's top flight, could we see the duo line-up alongside each other at Stamford Bridge next season?
Mount and Gallagher may be two of the Premier League's youngest stars but their relationship already has a rich history.
Mount, 22, joined the Chelsea youth programme in 2005 with Gallagher, 21, following suit three years later.
The two spent almost a decade together in the youth set-up at Cobham before eventually finding first-team opportunities on loan.
The elder of the pair, Mount first spent time away, enjoying successful loan spells with Vitesse and Derby.
Gallagher then put in the hard yards on loan at Charlton, Swansea and West Brom before finding a home at Selhurst Park.
Their roads may have headed in different directions but the dynamic duo could rekindle their partnership when Gallagher ends his loan spell next summer.
Vieira favours a 4-3-3 formation at Palace, with Gallagher playing in an advanced midfield role.
Mount's position in Tuchel's set-up is slightly different, normally playing off a main striker in the German's 3-4-2-1 structure.
But with both midfielders usually preferring to impact the attacking third from the right-hand side, there could be an issue when it comes to fitting both in the same team.
Tuchel seems to prefer his two attacking midfielders to have a mixture of playing styles, with one being more central and the other being more familiar in a wide position.
This season, it has usually come in the form of Mount and one of Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic or Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Both Gallagher and Mount love to drive forward with the ball, which is evident from their combined 23 successful take-ons this term.
But their goalscoring abilities could tempt Tuchel into a more narrow midfield at Chelsea next season — maximising the impact of Reece James and Ben Chilwell from their attacking full-back positions.
Shoehorning Gallagher into a deeper-lying playmaker role is another option but this could upset the balance currently offered by deploying two of Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
Consistency is key
Although the prospect of seeing both Gallagher and Mount in the same team is an appealing one for Chelsea fans, neither would be guaranteed a starting place at Stamford Bridge.
Before Chelsea's win over Watford at the start of December, Mount had only scored in one game this season — a hat-trick in October's 7-0 mauling of Norwich.
He had found his position in the squad under threat in the early stages of the campaign and Tuchel made it clear he was willing to make tough selection decisions.
Mount was substituted in the Blues' 3-0 win over Tottenham after their London rivals dominated most of the first half.
After the game, Tuchel said: "I wanted to give a sign from the talk, I wasn’t happy with the energy.
"I was not ready to talk about the spaces here, the spaces there. We had to open the spaces."
The ruthless half-time substitution set down a marker for the level that the German expects his players to perform at.
Gallagher will certainly have to impress for the remaining half of the season if he is to convince his parent club that he is ready to make the step up from mid-table battler to Premier League title contender.
Tuchel's style of man management appears to be working however. Mount has now provided five goal contributions in his last three Premier League games and has responded to the high bar set.
Gallagher will need to do the same.
Competition for places
Gallagher will also need to transition from being a star man to a team player if he is to force his way into a starting spot.
The Palace loanee will have to adapt to try and force his way into this formidable Chelsea side.
There are a number of world-class players in West London, but there is no reason why the Epsom-born youngster cannot feature alongside Mount next season.
Tuchel is not yet set on a fixed attacking strategy, with injuries to a number of forward players disrupting the development of any coherent structure to that side of the European champions' play.
Gallagher has already turned the head of England coach Gareth Southgate, who handed the Palace No23 his first cap in last month's World Cup qualifier in San Marino.
If his impressive performances continue, the next big step in his career — a Premier League debut for Chelsea — could be only a matter of months away.