Keith Andrews believes that Conor Gallagher will be sent out on loan by Chelsea again next season, after an impressive debut campaign in the EFL.
The industrious midfielder was sent out on loan to Charlton Athletic in the summer, scoring six goals and chipping in with four assists in 26 appearances for Lee Bowyer’s side.
In order to further his development, Chelsea recalled Gallagher in January before sending him out on loan to play-off chasers Swansea City, where he has since added five assists to this season’s tally.
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Gallagher has definitely thrived in the second tier this season, and once the EFL returns to action, the 20-year-old will be keen to help Swansea break into the Championship top six.
After an impressive season out on loan, the midfielder is likely to attract interest this summer having already been linked with Premier League side Burnley and Dutch side Vitesse.
But speaking on Sky’s EFL Young Talent programme, Andrews has admitted that he thinks Gallagher will spend next season away from Stamford Bridge on loan, rather than being given a chance to shine in the first-team.
He said: “When you look at it, 12 months ago at Chelsea this wouldn’t have even been a discussion, it would have been either he goes back on loan again or they sell him for a decent profit. I think now is a different scenario with Frank Lampard in charge. But those issues, the fact that there is a bit of competition in there.
“The other thing I would say is that he is still very, very young. I don’t see him going back there next season. I see him going back on loan because of his age. We talked about Ben White earlier, 22 years of age, the development he has had, the steps that he has had to take to get to this level, he is still 20, Conor Gallagher.”
I agree with Andrews here, another season in the Championship on loan could be good for Gallagher, or even for a lower-half Premier League team.
What’s different about Gallagher compared to the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham is that they already had experience from previous loan spells before breaking into the first-team.
For Gallagher, meanwhile, this season is his first season away from Chelsea, so spending another year away and experiencing first-team football could place him in good stead for the future.