Football News

“It’s nonsense” – Chelsea urged not to sell one of their best players in Conor Gallagher

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:52, 18 January 2024

Chelsea have been urged not to sell midfielder Conor Gallagher amid reports of the club being open to offers for him.

It’s the January transfer window and Chelsea are once again being linked with new signings, especially in the striker area. But the Blues are also being linked with sales. Last year, Chelsea were able to deal with Financial Fair Play rules due to amortisation, spreading their transfer fees over longer-than-usual periods due to the length of their contracts.

But now a limit has been put in, which means Chelsea won’t be able to offer seven and eight-year deals to their new players. So if they want to spend big once more, the belief is that Chelsea will need to sell. While the Blues do have some out-of-favour players that fans would want to sell, some of the club’s academy graduates appear to be high on the sale list.

In terms of FFP, transfer fees for players from the academy count as pure profit, so can work straight towards offsetting expenditure. Armando Broja is the latest Cobham graduate to be linked with a move away, with Chelsea reportedly happy to accept £50m for the striker. But the biggest news of the window so far was the report of Chelsea being open to offers for Gallagher.

Gallagher was linked with a move away in the summer, with Chelsea reportedly happy to accept £50m for the Englishman then, and that is the supposed fee once again this window. Tottenham are the team most-linked with Gallagher, a move that would infuriate a large number of the fanbase.

To make matters worse, Mauricio Pochettino has constantly spoken of his admiration for Gallagher, and has even handed him the captain’s armband in the absence of Reece James and Ben Chilwell.

“He’s important because of Chelsea values,” Pochettino said last month. “He’s a product that came from the academy. Of course he loves the club and he’s very committed.”

Although he comes under criticism from members of his own fanbase, Gallagher is a key part of the way Pochettino wants Chelsea to play. When he’s on the pitch, whether that’s in a more advanced position or slightly deeper in midfield, Gallagher is relentless in his work.

The Englishman leads the way in Europe’s top five leagues this season for possessions won in the attacking third, doing so 29 times, four more than any other player. He has also won possession in the middle third 62 times, which is eighth-most in the Premier League.

Gallagher has also made a name for himself as a tough tackler, with 54 tackles in the Premier League so far this season, joint-fifth in the division and ninth overall across Europe’s top five leagues. However, only one player has committed more fouls in Europe’s top five leagues than Gallagher’s 47, with Ruben Alcaraz of Cadiz committing 51.

One criticism of Gallagher is his failure to score this season, but the Englishman has been creative. Among Premier League central midfielders, only three players have created more Big Chances than Gallagher’s six this season, while he has recorded four assists. It’s worth noting that three of those assists have come from open play too, so Gallagher isn’t just adding to his numbers with set pieces. He has also completed 327 final third passes in the Premier League, the sixth-highest among central midfielders in the division.

And former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit doesn’t understand why the club are open to offers.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the rumours that Chelsea want to sell one of their best players in Conor Gallagher,” he told Compare.Bet.

“Honestly, I don’t get it. What is the strategy here? He’s been wearing the captain’s armband recently, he’s so important for the fans and the identity of the team but also he’s been of the best players in the Chelsea squad this year.

“If they sell him, it’s nonsense.”