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Why Chelsea should keep hold of Gallagher as January rumours rumble
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Adam Drury
Conor Gallagher could leave Chelsea in January
Conor Gallagher could leave Chelsea in January

Stories surrounding Conor Gallagher's Chelsea future are emerging again as the January transfer window approaches.

The midfielder has regularly captained the Blues this season and been a near ever-present in their side, yet it is unclear whether he has a genuine part to play moving forward.

Ahead of tonight's crunch Carabao Cup quarter-final against Newcastle, we examine what happens next for the England international.

FFP loophole

Chelsea do have practical reasons for aiming to sell Gallagher ahead of other first-team players.

Not only does the midfielder have just 18 months left on his deal but he is also an academy product, meaning the fee accrued for him could be marked down as pure profit on their Financial Fair Play balance sheet.

Yet selling a popular homegrown leader purely to make up the numbers would be a sad indictment of what the Stamford Bridge club have become.

And the success of Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Billy Gilmour since leaving West London should serve as a reminder of the dangers of replacing such players with more expensive talent.

Heart of a lion

Conor Gallagher has played 16 Premier League matches for Chelsea this season
Conor Gallagher has played 16 Premier League matches for Chelsea this season

Gallagher's exemplary work rate is what makes him such a popular player at Stamford Bridge and is a big reason why fans consider him to have been one of their best performers this season.

The 23-year-old ranks top of all Premier League central midfielders for possessions won in the attacking third — a crucial attribute in modern football where teams aim to cause problems in transition.

He also provides a healthy balance to Mauricio Pochettino's midfield, with Moises Caicedo breaking up play in deeper areas and Enzo Fernandez more adept with the ball at his feet.

And as a popular homegrown star, he plays an important role off the field too, increasingly appearing in post-match interviews and skippering the team in the absence of Reece James. 

Out of my hands

Manager Pochettino is appreciative of what Gallagher brings but admits the decision to sell him or not will be made elsewhere.

He recently said: "I don't need to talk too much because it's clear it's not my decision.

"Of course he loves the club and he's very committed. You can see on the pitch he runs, he play, he fights. He does everything to try to win. 

"Yes, I think he is a really important player."

Mauricio Pochettino says Conor Gallagher is an important player for Chelsea
Mauricio Pochettino says Conor Gallagher is an important player for Chelsea

Goal drought

The fear for Gallagher is that technical deficiencies may mean Chelsea's decision-makers do not see him as part of a team that could win major honours in the near future.

The 11-cap international has scored just three goals and created five in 64 appearances for the Blues.

And as Christopher Nkunku regains full fitness — with Romeo Lavia and Carney Chukwuemeka on their way back too — it may be that Pochettino wants more polish from his advanced midfielder.

Gallagher does have four assists to his name this season, though, and selling such a popular figure when there are not many others at the club could prove to be a major error.


ChelseaConor GallagherEFL Cup
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