Football News

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: Maresca to turn to familiar face in Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher replacement search?

By Squawka News

Published: 8:11, 9 June 2024

Chelsea’s busy summer may be about to intensify with one in and one out of their midfield. 

Reports are gathering that Conor Gallagher — who wore the captain’s armband for extended periods throughout 2023/24 — could be set to leave the club, with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa heavily linked with the England international, who will go to Euro 2024 this summer.

That would leave a huge gap in the midfield for new boss Enzo Maresca to fill. Gallagher finished first among Chelsea players in the Premier League last season for interceptions, possessions won in the middle and attacking thirds and recoveries, with his high energy and work rate providing vital dynamism for ex-boss Mauricio Pochettino. The former Crystal Palace loanee exuded plenty of influence with the ball, too, notching five goals and seven assists while finishing second only to Cole Palmer (72) for chances created (53).

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However, it looks like Maresca already has a replacement in mind and it’s a very familiar face for the Italian.

Reports suggest Chelsea could move for Leicester City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Now 25 years old, the midfielder has been on many club’s radars for a number of years now, but seriously impressed as he starred in the Foxes’ Championship-winning campaign last season, returning them to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Dewsbury-Hall was Leicester’s top performer in the league last season when it came to assists, chances created and through balls attempted/completed, while his 12 goals left him second only to Jamie Vardy.

It’s thought it could take £50m to persuade Leicester to sell their prized midfielder this summer but while Chelsea may also face competition from Manchester United, Sky Bet currently rate them as 5/1 favourites to sign the Nottingham-born star.

Dewsbury-Hall doesn’t quite post the same level of defensive numbers as Gallagher. However, just like his fellow Englishman, he finished first among his teammates for possessions won in the attacking third during the 2023/24 league season and would prove a similarly effective pressing weapon for Maresca.

Given what Dewsbury-Hall and Maresca achieved together at the King Power Stadium last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the new Chelsea boss really push the boat out for the midfielder, who he is clearly a big fan of.

“He was full of responsibility at first. But since the first international break he has improved a lot. He’s calm, fantastic with the ball, he knows when to attack and what to give the team,” Maresca said of Dewsbury-Hall last season. “He is so dangerous near the box, and has the quality to score or assist from anywhere. He could already have had 10 or 12 assists. He is probably the most-improved for us and he’s in the perfect position.”