HomeFootball NewsCan Conor Gallagher Help West Ham Move On From Declan Rice?

Can Conor Gallagher Help West Ham Move On From Declan Rice?


The sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal may have been no surprise for West Ham United, having long been obvious that the Europa Conference Final would be his last appearance for the club. It’s also brought in a British record transfer fee, but there’s no guarantee that the Hammers will be able to replace such an important player even with all that money to spend.

But can Conor Gallagher be the player they need to kickstart a new era at the London Stadium? Gallagher made his Chelsea breakthrough last season after an impressive season on loan at Crystal Palace, but is believed to be available as Mauricio Pochettino looks to reshape a bloated squad in his image.

Gallagher’s 8 goals in 39 games at Palace in 2021-22 had showcased his abilities as a box-to-box midfielder capable of shining in the Premier League, first making an impression with two goals in a draw with West Ham in August 2021. He won Palace’s Player of the Year award, but they were unable to make his move permanent as Chelsea saw him as ready for their first team.

Breakthrough Season

In 2022-23 Gallagher played 45 times (with 18 starts out of 35 in the Premier League), scoring three goals, and recovering from a difficult start to the campaign to establish himself as a steady performer amidst the chaos all around him at Stamford Bridge. So much so that he’s certainly in demand this summer, having already been linked with Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund.

The German side sees him as a potential replacement for yet another England midfielder who was subject to a big-money transfer this summer, Jude Bellingham. However, Gallagher has already insisted that he wants to fight for his place at Chelsea, perhaps aware that so many of his fellow midfield stars have already departed in recent weeks.

“I’m a Chelsea player and I love Chelsea,” he said. “It’s been a really tough season for me and the whole team and club. We’ll work as hard as we can to get Chelsea back to where they belong. 

“He’s [Pochettino] a top manager, everyone at Chelsea is happy he’s here and we’re looking forward to working with him. I just need to keep working hard and get a bit of my confidence back in a way. I didn’t lose it but I need to get a rhythm of playing more games, score more goals and I am trying to reach that stage.”

Chelsea Exodus

This summer has seen Chelsea midfielders leaving in their droves, with Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Kai Havertz, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Christian Pulisic departing. That leaves relatively few experienced midfielders available to Pochettino currently, so he is unlikely to want to also allow Gallagher to leave.

West Ham meanwhile have spent virtually nothing so far this summer, with a 17-year-old Irish winger their only signing. Already halfway through their pre-season campaign (so far they have three wins from three games), David Moyes will want to ensure they don’t go into the new campaign with a weaker squad than they finished the last one.

The Hammers may have ended on a high with European glory, but struggled in the Premier League, finishing 14th, just six points clear of the bottom three. With another busy season ahead in the Europa League, a player with Gallagher’s energy could be exactly what they need to ensure they don’t miss the influence of Rice.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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