Whilst Southampton have enjoyed an excellent start to the 2020/21 Premier League season, it could be argued that things might be looking even better for them had they not missed out on the loan signing of Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher in the summer.
Football.London suggested back in August that the Saints were one of 12 clubs vying for the youngster’s signature, following impressive loan spells with Charlton Athletic and Swansea City in the Championship.
The 20-year-old managed six goals and eight assists during his time in the second division and earned very solid ratings with both clubs, managing a 6.88 average rating with Swansea, and a 6.93 rating with Charlton (per WhoScored).
In the end, Gallagher opted to join West Brom, following their promotion back to the top-flight, and despite the Baggies’ poor start to the season, he has continued his impressive performances at the highest level of English football.
In four appearances for Slaven Bilic’s side, the young midfielder has averaged a very solid 6.93 rating, which ranks him as their joint-best performer in the top-flight so far (per WhoScored).
His performances last season were also enough to earn him praise from Chelsea legend Claude Makelele, with the Frenchman suggesting in a documentary, as per the Daily Star, that:
“He has a lot of qualities. Physically, [technically], you can see a lot of progress in just six months. He is becoming a leader in the starting team.”
Therefore, it seems as if those at Chelsea have high hopes for Gallagher and Southampton may have missed out by failing to secure his loan signing.
With James Ward-Prowse having picked up a knock recently ahead of the international break, having someone like Gallagher available as back-up would surely have been beneficial to Ralph Hasenhuttl, as the Austrian is arguably lacking natural central-midfielders in his side.
Perhaps, if Gallagher continues to impress with West Brom in the Premier League, he can be a transfer target for the Saints in the future.