- The 24-year-old saved the nervous Blues with a late goal to beat Leeds 3-2.
- But his status as a product of academia means he represents pure benefit to the PSR.
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Ultimately, Chelsea’s savior in Wednesday’s nervy FA Cup victory over Championship side Leeds was not one of their multi-millionaire men, of which they have many.
It was Conor Gallagher, the Cobham graduate, one of their own, the local hero who had an exhibition organized for him by We Are The Shed, the group of fans behind the impressive tifo on display at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. He is also, from a callous perspective, a player who represents pure profit when it comes to the Premier League’s PSR rules.
Unless there is a breakthrough in extension talks, Gallagher will only have one year left on his contract this summer, which is when Chelsea are expected to listen to offers again; Tottenham are known to admire the talented grafter who has won possession in the final third more than any other Premier League player this season.
West Ham are among those who have shown interest in previous windows, however a well-placed source has ruled out the possibility of them re-entering the race.
Chelsea would rather deal with the likes of them than commit transfer betrayal with Tottenham, although West Ham feel the asking fee will still be higher than £45m. It’s not an unreasonable valuation by Chelsea standards, considering Mason Mount was sold to Manchester United for £55m and fetched £60m with a year left and they wanted £50m for Armando Broja in January.
Conor Gallagher (right) proved the difference during Chelsea’s nervy FA Cup victory against Leeds.
Mauricio Pochettino is a big admirer of the midfielder and would be sad to see him move
The 24-year-old has impressed in a patchy season in west London with his tenacious work rate.
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However, Gallagher’s performances on the pitch are also impacting the wages he can command in the event of a departure, which West Ham suspect will be around £150,000 a week. This, the source says, will likely limit his availability to clubs competing in the Champions League.
Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart were at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to watch Gallagher secure a 3-2 victory over Leeds as a substitute. It was a good moment for the 24-year-old, who is never ashamed to say that he “loves” the club he has occasionally captained.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino wants him to stay, describing him as “invaluable” and showing his support after his missed opportunities in the Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool, but he has been here before. Tottenham sold one of their most talented players, Mousa Dembélé, in January 2019 when his contract was expiring and their second half of the season was affected by his absence, even if they added some cash to the arks.
Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham is one of his admirers, but the Blues would not be willing to see him move to a hated rival.
During his loan spell at Crystal Palace, then-coach Patrick Vieira highlighted him as a key talent.
Gallagher was not sold in the winter window and that benefited Chelsea on Wednesday. Without their FA Cup winner, his campaign could now have ended had his long-legged players gone on in extra time against Leeds at Stamford Bridge. Instead, they remain in the competition that could secure them titles alongside European football.
Mail Sport interviewed Patrick Vieira towards the end of his time as Crystal Palace manager. He no longer had Gallagher on loan, but Vieira was very willing to discuss why he was one of his favorite players and said of his passion: “Conor was the perfect embodiment of that.” He gave it his all.’
Managers value Gallagher more than money, although it remains as uncertain as ever whether he will wear the Chelsea shirt next season.