Conor Gallagher delivered a match-winning performance for Chelsea against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday, with the England midfielder instrumental in turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory.
With the pressure mounting on Mauricio Pochettino as his side trailed at the break, Gallagher stepped forward to score twice in the second half and lead his side to victory.
There was no room for sentiment for the 24-year-old either. While some players refuse to celebrate against their former clubs – see Declan Rice after netting for Arsenal against West Ham at the weekend – Gallagher did not hold back. He was on the verge of leaping into the crowd after netting what proved the decider.
His performance was simply the latest evidence that he is a player Chelsea should not be thinking about selling.
Reports are abound that the Blues could allow him to depart in the summer because, as a homegrown player, he is in a position to ease their Financial Fair Play (FFP) issues most easily.
Pochettino, though, does not agree with this. Gallagher has been a starter and even the captain under the Argentine – and one of Chelsea’s most effective players. After the victory over Palace, the former Tottenham and PSG boss described him as “priceless”.
FootballCritic gave him a score of 9.1 for his performance against Crystal Palace, and with an overall Rating of 82, he is Chelsea’s most in-form player behind only Cole Palmer.
Gallagher vs Crystal Palace
Conor Gallagher vs Crystal Palace in six stats
|Final third passes
Pochettino on Gallagher
“I think he’s a player with a great commitment to the team, always trying to compensate every single situation. It’s priceless to have a player like him. I’m so happy for him as it’s a victory we needed,” Pochettino told the media on Monday.
The manager has made his stance on the player clear, and if the Chelsea board do elect to sell Gallagher in the summer, they risk being drawn into a battle with their boss.
It’s priceless to have a player like him
– Pochettino on Gallagher
“What he said to me was that he wanted to stay at Chelsea,” Pochettino added. “But it’s about him and the club. I’m not worried about this type of thing. He has another year on his contract. But that’s between him and the club.”
Pochettino has made his position on Gallagher clear. Now it is up to Chelsea’s leaders to send a clear signal of trust to both manager and midfielder by opening contract talks.