Mauricio Pochettino on Moises Caicedo's debut after Chelsea's 3-1 loss to West Ham
Chelsea staff members are reportedly becoming increasingly concerned with the club’s willingness to sell off their academy graduates as Mauricio Pochettino reportedly considers allowing Conor Gallagher to leave. The Blues midfielder has been a regular this season so far under the new boss but speculation persists that he could be sold by the hierarchy – a decision that is unlikely to go down well with their youth staff at Cobham.
The west London club have produced a number of talented players in the past five years after making great strides to improve the quality of their homegrown talent under Roman Abramovich.
The emergence of Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori since 2019 has been proof of their investment in developing their own talent instead of spending millions of players from elsewhere.
But under American owner Todd Boehly, who has spent over £900million in three transfer windows on players and could yet reach £1bn before the transfer deadline, has viewed the academy starlets as an opportunity to cash in and balance their books. Because they are homegrown and cost nothing to sign, they represent pure profit from an accounting point of view, allowing Chelsea to spend freely to bring in big-name signings such as Moises Caicedo on long-term contracts.
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But according to the Daily Mail, the tactic has caused a stir amongst academy staffers, who have questioned allowing Mount to join Manchester United for £60m and more recently loaning Lewis Hall to Newcastle United, which will become a mandatory £35m transfer if certain conditions are met.
Gallagher could be the next Cobham graduate to follow them out of the door, despite appearing to have a role to play under Pochettino, with interest from fellow Premier League sides Tottenham and Crystal Palace. The west London side value the England international at around £50m and are yet to receive any bids in that region.
However, if they did receive a tempting offer, it might represent an opportunity to sell the 24-year-old. There is a similar stance over Trevoh Chalobah’s future, with Inter Milan and Bayern Munich both linked with the centre-back. The report adds that staff have ‘pushed’ for Gallagher to stay after becoming irritated at watching the players they nurtured head for the exit.
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Pochettino has Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez and Romeo Lavia to pick from in the three-man midfield, and with Andrey Santos joining Nottingham Forest on loan and Lesley Ugochukwu expected to be handed a backup role, there isn’t much room for Gallagher in the Argentinian’s new setup.
Gallagher has started all three of Chelsea’s Premier League matches this season and impressed in the 3-0 win over Luton on Friday. Yet, there is a feeling he could still leave before the transfer window shuts if the right offer comes along.
Pochettino, 51, has refuted such suggestions he could leave, telling the club’s official website: “He’s doing well,” Pochettino said. “He’s a really important player, with his commitment, and the way he is involved every day and in training. We are so happy with him.”
But it may not be down to him, with Chelsea needing to balance the books after splashing out nearly £300m on nine signings this summer, and Boehly could defy the academy staff again by allowing one of their own to depart.
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