Defense is very much a priority for Tottenham at the moment, but Ange Postecoglou may need to add another midfielder to his ranks before the summer transfer window closes. Already boosting the manager’s midfield options with James Maddison joining on a long-term deal from Leicester City, a possible departure for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could force the Lilywhites back into transfer action in the middle of the park.
A key player in the Tottenham side ever since his move from Southampton in August 2020, the Denmark international is believed to be open to leaving the north London club this summer. Atletico Madrid have been heavily linked with the 27-year-old, who does not seem natural for the roles in Postecoglou’s Tottenham midfield.
Amid question marks over the futures of Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, as well as Rodrigo Bentancur, who is still working his way back to full fitness, Tottenham cannot afford not to replace Hojbjerg if he is to travel to the Spanish capital or elsewhere. One player who has been linked with a move to the N17 is Chelsea ace Conor Gallagher, although it remains to be seen whether the Blues would sanction a deal with their rivals given how little they have done between each other in the past.
soccer.london reported back in June that Tottenham have an interest in the England international, who has been tipped to leave Stamford Bridge as part of the many changes set to take place under former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Gallagher was in action for Chelsea on Wednesday night in the Blues’ first pre-season game as they thrashed League Two side Wrexham 5-0 in North Carolina.
Operating in a midfield two as part of Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 system when introduced in the second half, the 23-year-old’s late goal highlighted what he is all about. Picking up the ball on the halfway line and driving forward with it before spreading it out to his left, Gallagher continued his run and found the far corner with a low drive from the edge of the box after Raheem Sterling had teed him up.
A goal Wrexham goalkeeper Rob Lainton perhaps should have done much better with, the build-up demonstrated what Gallagher has in his locker as he has the quality on the ball and energy to get forward and support in attack. A tenacious and committed player who brings bags of energy to the team and is also excellent at pressing, carrying the ball upfield and making late runs into the box to score, it’s not hard to see why Postecoglou and Tottenham would be interested in securing his services before the transfer deadline.
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He possesses the necessary qualities to be a big hit under the Australian and the Spurs boss could even take him to new levels given his footballing philosophy and the attacking brand of football that comes with it. Gallagher would certainly give the former Celtic manager options in midfield as he has a wealth of experience playing in a box-to-box role, as an attacking midfielder and on occasions in the past in a holding role.
Coming through the system at Chelsea before successful loan spells with Charlton Athletic, Swansea and West Brom, it was during his year on loan at Crystal Palace that he really came to the attention of many. Excelling in Patrick Vieira’s midfield and contributing eight goals and five assists in 39 games in all competitions, the Epsom-born ace was rewarded with his first call-up to the England senior squad.
Vieira has come in for praise countless times from the Premier League giants and gave an insight into Gallagher’s game after their 3-0 win over Arsenal in April 2022, branding him a “massive player”.
“The energy he brings to the team – it allows other players to follow him afterwards,” the Frenchman said, as reported by Subway. “Most of the time he’s the one who starts the pressure and puts the pressure on. It really forces the players behind to follow and reduce the gaps between the lines. He’s a massive player.”
He added: “A lot of people talk about the goals he’s scored and that’s good for the team, but the work ethic and the passion he shows every day is something that’s a big plus for us as a team.”
Remaining at Chelsea last term but unable to make the same impact as he did at Crystal Palace, with a good portion of his minutes coming from the substitutes’ bench, Gallagher was still rewarded with a place in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad. As part of the wholesale changes that have attended West London over the past 12 months with the Blues extremely active in the transfer market, it is not yet clear whether or not Gallagher will still be at Stamford Bridge at the start of September.
Fairly light in midfield as things stand following the summer exits of Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whether or not the Blues are successful in their quest to sign Brighton & Hove Albion ace Moises Caicedo could possibly determine whether or not Gallagher heads elsewhere. Already having a £70m bid rejected for the Ecuadorian, the Blues will need to increase their offer somehow, with the south coast club believed to be holding out for £100m.
Showing at Palace that he is a brilliant talent who can make a big impact in the Premier League, Postecoglou could be the one to return Gallagher to his former heights if Tottenham can strike a deal with Chelsea for his services. Transfers between the two teams are extremely few and far between, and something will be needed if the talented midfielder is to make the trip across the capital and make N17 his new home.
While defense must be at the top of Tottenham’s transfer priority list first and foremost, Gallagher could be the ideal Hojbjerg replacement as part of the new era taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium under Postecoglou. Time will tell if that will be the case.
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