According to speculations, despite his great achievements for Cheslea this season, Conor Gallagher could be sold in January.
Gallagher’s statistics compare favorably to those of other elite Premier League box-to-box midfielders such as Declan Rice, Alexis MacAllister, Bernardo Silva, Scott McTominay, and Bruno Guimares. Gallagher does well when he is not in possession, but the metrics also highlight his ingenuity.The midfielder is also outperforming Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo in the league, which would irritate Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has stated how essential Gallagher is to his plans.
So far, Chelsea fans have had a forgettable season. The Blues’ position in the table, tenth, with only six wins and seven losses, suggests that they may miss out on European football again in 2024/25. The pressure is mounting on manager Mauricio Pochettino, but one of the more encouraging developments at Stamford Bridge this season has been the resurgence of Conor Gallagher.
So far in the 2023/24 season, the 23-year-old has been a staple in the engine room, playing alongside Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez while frequently leading the team out due to injuries to club captain Reece James and vice-captain Ben Chilwell. However, The Athletic reports that Chelsea is willing to sell Gallagher when the January transfer market opens. While the midfielder’s contract expires in the summer of 2025, not renewing it and selling him in January would be perplexing given his Premier League stats this season and how well he’s been playing after a dismal 2022/23 season.
Gallagher was given an opportunity to impress for his boyhood club last season after flourishing on loan at Crystal Palace, but he failed to make much of an impact. After scoring eight goals and assisting three more for the Eagles in the league, he only managed three goals and one assist for Chelsea in 22/23. Certainly not a sign of long-term first-team potential.This prompted reports that he could leave the club during the summer transfer window of 2023. Tottenham were interested in signing him, while West Ham had a £40 million deal rejected for the box-to-box midfielder. Gallagher would remain at Stamford Bridge if no suitable offer materialized.Gallagher’s statistics are excellent when compared to other box-to-box midfielders.
And what a blessing that proved to be for the Blues. Although Chelsea have yet to find their groove, Gallagher has been a bright spark in the Chelsea engine room. He looks like the player who tore up the turf at Selhurst Park, with gut-busting sprints and spectacular tackles made left, right, and center.
With four league assists, he has already treble his total from last season, demonstrating his creative side. He hasn’t scored a league goal in 2023/24, but his contribution to the squad has Chelsea fans sighing with delight.And, when compared to five other elite Premier League center midfielders who have played a box-to-box role this season, his quality this season is shown by the figures. Gallagher was compared to Arsenal’s Declan Rice, Liverpool’s Alexis MacAllister, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, and Newcastle’s Bruno Guimares using Squawka’s Comparison Matrix tool. And the Chelsea man does exceptionally well.While Gallagher only leads in two of the above categories, he is not far behind the leaders in the other measurements. He is having a significant impact in the middle of the park, which is somewhat predictable considering that he is assisting the team’s move from defense to offense. When he has the ball, he is the third-least likely to lose it of all the names above, while also finishing first in take-on success percentage after completing the second-most take-ons each game. A central midfielder who enjoys getting the ball and running at defenses is exactly what you want.
But it’s his work off the ball that stands out here, something Gallagher has become known for at Chelsea. With an average of 7.2 times regaining possession each match, he is ahead of all five players, including Arsenal’s Rice, who is usually considered as one of the finest in the business at winning the ball back.Gallagher has never been afraid to take chances, as evidenced by his previously noted goal and assist totals over the years. And his numbers in comparison to the other five are really good, ranking joint-first in assists per match. However, one player truly stands out here.Silva has developed into one of the league’s most creative players under Pep Guardiola at City, capable of playing on the wing as well as through the middle. Topping the six players in shooting accuracy, assists, and chances created per 90 minutes helps to reflect that, but Gallagher isn’t far behind in either of the last two categories, indicating he’s just as adept on the ball as he is off.
Remember what we said earlier about Gallagher being neat in his possession? The same can be said for this situation. He leads the pack in pass accuracy and trails only Silva in long pass accuracy, indicating that he is not wasteful.Where he falls short is in total passes made, whether long, short, or forward. Gallagher ranks second-to-last in all three metrics, and the disparity between him and those above him in forward passes played every game is quite troubling. Trusted to drive Chelsea forward, he may be guilty of not being as clear as he could be. Nonetheless, he is still functioning admirably here.
When it comes to statistics when not in possession, Gallagher shines once again. He leads the league in three out of eight categories, including tackles made per game, aerial duel success percentage, and interceptions per game. Even more impressive, he’s not far behind the top in some of the other areas, particularly ground duels per match, where only Newcastle’s determined Brazilian Guimares outperforms him.Where he has to improve is in fouls conceded, as he is occasionally guilty of a rash challenge. That was certainly the case against Brighton, as Gallagher was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a reckless challenge. He has never been reluctant to get involved, as evidenced by his clash with Yves Bissouma when Chelsea played Tottenham, but his aggression may sometimes get the better of him. If he can eliminate the bad tackles, his defensive game will be nearly perfect.
Based on the evidence provided thus far, Gallagher appears to be a highly well-rounded player at the heart of the Chelsea club. While he leads the elite box-to-box midfielders in seven categories, his numbers look even better when compared to Fernandez and Caicedo, Chelsea’s other starting midfielders in 2023/24.Returning to Squawka’s comparison tool and reviewing the same 22 categories, Gallagher takes the lead in 13 of them. He excels in all areas of the field, but he is most impressive when he is not in possession, making more tackles and contesting and winning more duels on the ground. He also intercepts nearly twice as many passes as Caicedo.
While Fernandez is a better passer of the ball than Gallagher, he does not create as many chances as the Englishman, behind by 0.5 on average. He’s also less accurate with the ball when passing it, but he’s significantly better at playing forward.While the World Cup winner leads in seven categories, Caicedo trails in only three: long pass accuracy, aerial duels competitions, and blocks per game. Certainly not what Chelsea expected from their second-most expensive signing ever.
With Gallagher competing with the best in the league and leading the way statistically for Chelsea, it makes little sense for the Blues to move him. At 23, he has the potential to contribute to the squad for many years to come and is just going to get better from here.
However, with Todd Boehly and company set to authorize player departures to fund their January transfer plans, according to ESPN, Gallagher could be one of the players that leaves the club next month. Pochettino would be upset at such a choice, given the manager’s recent accolades for his player. According to The Standard, the Blues’ head coach believes his work rate and Chelsea connections make him essential to his ambitions.He’s significant due to his Chelsea values.” He came from the academy, understands the club’s identity, and is highly committed. On the field, you can watch how he runs, plays, and fights.He gives everything and is a crucial player.” Every coach wants this type of guy on his club.”He is correct that many clubs would like to have Gallagher on their squad, and if he is available for sale, there will be no shortage of suitors due to what he brings. While Chelsea may be obliged to sell if Gallagher does not renew his contract, which is set to expire in 18 months, he has previously stated that he is optimistic that he would sign an extension, and he is also apparently willing to battle for a spot in the Chelsea first team. Only time will tell what happens, but if he leaves, he may return to haunt his boyhood club.