Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher is having a season to remember, establishing himself as the beating heart of Mauricio Pochettino’s rejuvenated side.
While the spotlight often gravitates towards Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling, Gallagher is just as important to Pochettino’s tactical set-up as his countrymen.
The 23-year-old has undergone a remarkable transformation since returning from a loan spell at Crystal Palace last season, maturing into an all-round midfielder capable of adapting to multiple midfield roles.
While his goalscoring prowess appears to have taken a backseat, Gallagher has improved across every sphere of his game, proving an indispensable member of Chelsea’s hugely talented squad.
Gallagher’s impact is not just anecdotal – a simple eye test proves that assertion, but there is also statistical evidence that paints a clearer picture of a midfielder on his way to potential world-class status.
His stats outshine some of the prominent and most expensive players on the Premier League’s roster, including Arsenal’s £100 million summer acquisition, Declan Rice.
Rice has been a transformative signing for the Gunners this term, and his acquisition could bridge the gap between Mikel Arteta’s side and a maiden Premier League title since 2003.
However, in a head-to-head comparison with Gallagher, the Chelsea man holds the edge over his international teammate in various metrics.
He surpasses Rice in duels contested (131-98), tackles made (34-24), aerial duel success rate (61.54%-33.33%), and interceptions (19-16).
Although Rice boasts a marginally higher ground duel success rate (55.38%-54.24%) and more clearances (17-7), Gallagher’s 85 ball recoveries (7.1 per match) far exceed Rice’s 60 (5.0 per 90).
Deployed further up the pitch than Rice, Gallagher has showcased his versatility by creating more chances (19-9) and completing more take-ons (13-6).
Rice has undoubtedly been an incredible signing for Arsenal. But the numbers suggest that Gallagher, whose renaissance is one for the ages, is enjoying a more impactful season than his £100m counterpart.
Despite his revitalisation, Chelsea are yet to open contract talks with the midfielder, whose existing deal runs out in the summer of 2025.
However, given Gallagher’s desire to stay at Stamford Bridge, an improved long-term deal seems inevitable for a player who has solidified himself as the unsung hero of the Blues.