Despite having already completed the signing of Marseille youngster Boubacar Kamara, it would appear that Aston Villa remain set on bringing in a further midfield addition this summer, in order to help bolster Steven Gerrard’s squad.
One name that had been mentioned was Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, although the Mali international looks to be on his way to Tottenham Hotspur this summer, while the Midlands outfit are also expected to face fierce competition from Manchester City in the race to sign Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips, having reportedly been keen on the 26-year-old.
All is not lost in Villa’s bid to bring in a quality midfield recruit, however, with journalist Pete O’Rouke – in an interview with GIVEMESPORT – revealing that the club are “keeping tabs” on Chelsea gem, Conor Gallagher.
The 22-year-old – who spent the most recent campaign on loan at Crystal Palace – is set to return to Stamford Bridge this summer in order to take part in pre-season training under Blues boss manager Thomas Tuchel, although Gerrard and co may be able to pounce if it becomes clear that he won’t play a prominent role for the west Londoners next term.
Any deal would likely not come cheap – amid reports that the asking price could be as high as £50m – although the England international has proven in the most recent campaign that he is a genuinely gifted talent and one that would no doubt fit in beautifully at Villa Park.
In what proved to be a breakthrough 2021/22 season at Selhurst Park, the £17k-per-week workhorse netted eight goals and provided three assists for Patrick Vieira’s side, while also averaging 0.9 interceptions and two tackles per 90 in his 34 top-flight outings.
Seemingly an old-school, throwback, box-to-box midfielder, the £22.5m-rated ace is able to combine his attacking intent with a willingness to defend, notably ranking in the top 7% for pressures made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 8% for dribbles completed, the top 7% for touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 11% for progressive passes received.
That knack for impacting the game in both boxes and his relentless pressing style has seen the youngster compared to one of his Chelsea teammates, with talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino insisting that Gallagher is “like N’Golo Kante with goals” such is his talent.
The statistics would also seemingly back up that claim, with the diminutive Frenchman also ranking highly for dribbles completed (top 7%), touches in the attacking penalty area (top 18%) and progressive passes received (top 10%), although only provided two goals and four assists in his 26 league appearances.
The 30-year-old has dazzled in English football over the last seven years, winning a plethora of major honours for both club and country and rubberstamping his status as one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe, with pundit Joleon Lescott dubbing him “the best in that position ever to play the game.”
Reaching such heights may appear impossible for young Gallagher, although the one-time West Bromwich Albion loanee has himself been lauded of late, notably being labelled “outrageous” by one journalist, while another dubbed him a “monster” for his stunning displays.
Villa will no doubt be praying that he does come on the market this summer, as Gerrard will be able to nurture his own Kante to devastating effect.