One of the more interesting potential transfers to track this summer is that of Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher. The 22 year rose to prominence with a string of eye-catching displays whilst on loan at Crystal Palace last season, and as a result has attracted suitors from across Europe.Embed from Getty Images
For Villa, the midfield has yet to find a rhythm under boss Steven Gerrard and with the window having only opened on the 10th June, could easily be subject to some serious surgery. There are also signs of a clear-out, with Conor Hourihane released along with Ashley Young, as well as persistent rumours that Douglas Luiz may well be on the move.
The club also desperately needs to improve upon a return of just 6 home wins in 2021/22, a number of listless displays and a campaign that saw Villa finish a poor 14th. Whilst each section of the team clearly needed work, the engine room in midfield was visibly lacking all too often.
This requires a mentality shift, moving the club away from a now engrained generation of under-achievement. Steven Gerrard has been clear in a number of press conferences that poor performances and the results that they bring simply cannot be accepted, even moreso after significant year on year investment from two wealthy benefactors.
There’s no room for sentimentality either. Marvellous Nakamba, a decent disruptor, is barely able to find another Villa player with a football. The prompt and astute arrival of Boubacar Kamara underlines the point as to how such shortcomings will be rectified.
So what of other figures, such as the likes of John McGinn? A fine servant. No-one is irreplaceable, nor is identifying high quality talent as it becomes available for healthy competition either. For too long we tolerated the sub-par, in the form of Lansbury, Drinkwater, Tshibola et al. The likes of Conor Gallagher are exactly the type of player Villa should be lurking in the shadows to snare.Embed from Getty Images
Gallagher has completed his apprenticeship. Loan spells at West Brom, Swansea and Charlton, before time more recently under Patrick Viera at Selhurst Park. This fine form saw the youngster deservedly rewarded with call ups to the senior England set-up; he has 3 caps to date. His eight goals and five assists in the Premier League aren’t to be scoffed at either.
It’s reported that aside from Villa, top flight sides Everton, West Ham and Palace are admirers. Gallagher was also scouted by Serie A giants Juventus and Inter Milan towards the back end of last season, knowing that the player has yet to convince Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel that he has a first team role to play.
However, it all comes down to money. If reports are to be believed, Chelsea quoted Crystal Palace an eye watering £50m when they made an approach for the player, who is under contract until June 2025. The fee seems, ambitious, to say the least, but nothing would surprise in football anymore. Either way, this is one to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.