Not all Premier League loans are created equal as Chelsea’s promising Conor Gallagher’s future loan destination is up in the air.
In a normal transfer window, Conor Gallagher’s exploits last season would have ensured him a chance at Chelsea under Frank Lampard. This is not a normal transfer window, however, and the Blues have taken advantage of the piles of cash they had been sitting on while no one else can buy. As such, Gallagher has been earmarked for a Premier League loan that has been more than earned.
Not all Premier League loans are created equal though. Gallagher can get much more out of some clubs and nothing out of others. Some clubs are already off the table or are expected to be, so where might Gallagher land and what would be best for him?
It is best to start with where he can’t go or won’t go. The top six rivals are obviously out. Wolverhampton and Leicester probably fall into a similar category of being just a bit too good and ambitious to trust Gallagher out the gate. Burnley should be blacklisted after the Patrick Bamford debacle. Sheffield United already has Ethan Ampadu. Everton and Crystal Palace are rumored to be getting Fikayo Tomori and Michy Batshuayi on loan so they are also out.
Next up are the club’s Gallagher is actually linked to, neither of which are good ideas or exciting. West Brom will be in a relegation battle all year and while that would be valuable and unique for Gallagher to experience, it also means they’ll change managers at some point. New managers in relegation battles rarely rely on young players, let alone on loan young players.
Leed’s is also linked and on paper that looks like it would make sense. They are coming into the Premier League with ambition and Marco Bielsa, despite not really winning anything more important than an Olympic Gold Medal, does have an undeniable effect on player development. He is also terrible about using loan players and Chelsea has already seen that first hand on two separate occasions. Jamal Blackman and Izzy Brown both had their injury issues, but even when fit Bielsa found no room for them. The Blues can’t and shouldn’t risk that with Gallagher.
That still leaves six clubs so it is time to cut out the hot messes and the boring options. Newcastle will probably manage to stay up again this season, but what will Gallagher really gain from parking the bus constantly? West Ham is the hot mess category. Chelsea may want Declan Rice, but Gallagher shouldn’t be the carrot dangled out for it. Let that be someone else if it comes to it.
The remaining four clubs would all be decent landing spots to varying degrees for Gallagher. Fulham is probably the least appealing, but it does feel as though they have a better chance of staying up this time while playing smarter (not necessarily better) football than last time they were in the league. Aston Villa is a similar boat, but John Terry’s influence will be good for any Blue that lands there. Brighton is probably the most ambitious club remaining, but their reach exceeds their grasp. It would still be a good loan; it would just run the risk of turning into a relegation battling one.
That leaves the perfect club for Gallagher in Southampton. The Saints have long had a history of developing young players and under Ralph Hasenhuttl, they play an aggressive all action style that would get even Jurgen Klopp out of bed. Anyone that has watched Gallagher knows that “aggressive, all action style” suits him pretty perfectly so a full system of it would be brilliant.
Unfortunately, those “better” loan options haven’t really been linked. If Leeds would actually guarantee him playing time, that wouldn’t be bad but it remains a risk. That means of those linked, West Brom may be the best option out of two less than ideal choices.
Overall, Gallagher needs a Premier League loan but there are certainly some loans that would be better for him than others. The club needs to get this one right as the player has a ton of potential and a lot of barriers at Chelsea as it is. The least the club can do is loan him the right ladder to get around those barriers.