Conor Gallagher takes new Chelsea role despite exit talk as Todd Boehly makes transfer plans amid FFP concerns

Conor Gallagher takes new Chelsea role despite exit talk as Todd Boehly makes transfer plans amid FFP concerns

All of the talk post-match on Monday night was about that penalty incident despite Chelsea thumping Everton 6-0 on a near-perfect evening at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues ran riot in SW6 against a Toffees team that looked very poor throughout the game. Mauricio Pochettino was forced into a couple of changes following the injuries to Enzo Fernandez and Axel Disasi – but the Chelsea head coach got his team selection spot on.

Malo Gusto returned to the side for the injured Disasi, with Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah continuing in the centre of defence for the Blues. Meanwhile, Mykhailo Mudryk replaced Enzo, with Conor Gallagher dropping into a deeper role to fill the void left by the Argentine’s absence.

Gallagher, who has been used in the No.10 role for the majority of his time working under Pochettino, played alongside Moises Caicedo in a double pivot on Monday. In doing so, the England international excelled and has offered Pochettino a clear solution to a problem that has been bothering the head coach all season-long.

Between them, Fernandez and Caicedo have played well over 7000 minutes in all competitions this season. Because of Chelsea’s injury situation, with Romeo Lavia and Lesley Ugochukwu long-term absentees, there have not been many opportunities for Pochettino to rotate the South American duo this term.

While there have always been question marks over what team Pochettino will field for each game, a double pivot of Caicedo and Fernandez has almost been a guarantee every match. But if he wasn’t aware, Gallagher certainly showed his boss that he can also do a more than decent job in a deeper role.

It was a truly brilliant defensive midfield performance from Gallagher. He often picked up the ball and drove with it to try and beat Everton’s press – which was particularly fierce in the first half but understandably tailed off because of the scoreline. In fact, Gallagher was fouled eight times (via WhoScored) against the Toffees; more than any other player has been in a single Premier League game this season.

The England international contributed with one tackle, two interceptions, four clearances and won three aerial duels. Alongside Caicedo, who also had his best game in quite a while, the duo formed quite the partnership.

Fernandez, when fit again, is likely to come straight back into the team and Gallagher will be moved to a more offensive position again. But for Pochettino, it is really helpful that he now knows he can call upon Gallagher for games like these whenever one of Fernandez or Caicedo are not fit, or either of them need a rest.

However, the future of Gallagher remains uncertain. The 24-year-old, who has captained Chelsea considerably more than anyone else this season, has just over 12 months remaining on his contract with the club and no official talks have taken place yet over an extension to his deal.

Gallagher wants to stay at Stamford Bridge, with a club he has been signed to since the age of eight, but the ultimate decision will not be made by him or Pochettino. Chelsea are set for another busy transfer window in the summer, but with the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) more feared than ever, they will be looking to move some players on so they bring some into the club.

The Cobham graduate, who is said to be of interest to Tottenham among others, accounts as pure profit because Chelsea did not spend a penny on signing him, something that really helps clubs get on the right side of PSR. It sparks questions over the future of a few Chelsea players including Gallagher, Ian Maatsen, Armando Broja and Chalobah this summer.

 

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