Chelsea’s competitors are feeling optimistic due to the lack of progress on a new contract for Conor Gallagher, and are ready to make a move this summer as the midfielder nears the end of his current deal.

Chelsea’s competitors are feeling optimistic due to the lack of progress on a new contract for Conor Gallagher, and are ready to make a move this summer as the midfielder nears the end of his current deal.

Chelsea are nearing a summer in which they might not only lose a leader in Thiago Silva but also Conor Gallagher, with interested clubs buoyed by the lack of a breakthrough over a new deal.

Gallagher, 24, is set to enter his final year of his contract with the club he joined at the age of eight. Talks over extending his stay have been ongoing for several months, yet Chelsea insiders say the situation remains the same with five games of the Premier League season to go.

Mauricio Pochettino wants his relentless runner to stay, though the manager himself is not sure how much input he will be allowed into the club’s transfer business this summer. Previous windows were largely handled by sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

Chelsea insist their relationship with Gallagher is strong but they have shown a willingness towards selling him in the past and rivals are poised to swoop this summer. 

That includes Tottenham, Chelsea’s opponents this Thursday whose style of play under Ange Postecoglou would suit Gallagher’s box-to-box qualities. Newcastle, Liverpool, West Ham, Everton, Brighton and Fulham have also been linked with the England international previously.

Chelsea’s rivals have taken encouragement from the club’s lack of progress over a new deal

The Blues midfielder has shown leadership in adversity for his side this season

The Blues midfielder has shown leadership in adversity for his side this season

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However, Chelsea will not let Gallagher leave on the cheap, even if his contract is close to expiring. 

Mail Sport spoke to one anonymous source at an interested club who revealed they were told a deal could be done for £40million last summer. Despite his dwindling deal, they fear Chelsea will demand even more now after a season in which Gallagher has showcased his talent.

Add Gallagher’s salary expectations to that – there is an argument that he should earn £150,000 per week – and it would be an expensive purchase for any potential suitor.

Because of that, the source above says they are unlikely to pursue Gallagher seriously this summer, interestingly saying of Chelsea’s valuations: ‘We like him, but the figures don’t add up. They overpay so they expect clubs to overpay them.’

Certainly in the case of Tottenham, Chelsea would demand a premium price on Gallagher as they would much rather sell to a club who they do not consider a direct rival. Despite this season lurching towards a disappointing end, Chelsea will go back to targeting a top-four finish next campaign and do not want to help their competition this summer.

Speculation has been rife that Chelsea are under pressure to sell players this summer in order to pass the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules, though the club are adamant that is not an issue. The fact Gallagher is worth pure profit on the PSR balance sheet – because he was brought through the Chelsea academy – is a consideration which will be taken into account.

In a season plagued by injuries, Gallagher’s body has refused to break down, despite him covering more distance than any of his team-mates. That reliability is another reason why Pochettino values him so highly, having handed him the captain’s armband in the absence of Reece James.

Gallagher celebrates his side's second goal against Aston Villa in the 2-2 draw

Gallagher celebrates his side’s second goal against Aston Villa in the 2-2 draw

Gallagher partnered Moises Caicedo in midfield at Aston Villa, with Enzo Fernandez ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing groin surgery. Fernandez had been playing through the pain over the last six months using injections and medication to get through games.

Gallagher’s versatility saw him slot into that role seamlessly, having usually been used as a No 10 with the statistics saying he is the Premier League’s best presser of the ball. He stole possession before Noni Madueke scored and then netted a sublime equaliser which saw Chelsea come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Villa Park, yet again underlining his importance.

If Gallagher leaves along with Silva this summer, it will be tough on a Chelsea changing room who might have suffered a worse season were it not for their leadership.

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