BREAKING NEWS: Conor Gallagher is the gifted grafter Mauricio Pochettino is unwilling to let slip away… but the Cobham graduate could be heading for the door as Chelsea look to balance the books

When it came down to it, Chelsea’s saviour in Wednesday’s nervy FA Cup victory over Championship outfit Leeds was not one of their multimillion-pound men, of which they have plenty.

It was Conor Gallagher – the Cobham graduate, one of their own, the homegrown hero who is having a display organised for him by We Are The Shed, the fan group behind the impressive tifo on show at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. He is also, from a callous perspective, a player that represents pure profit when it comes to the Premier League’s PSR rules.

Barring a breakthrough in talks over an extension, Gallagher will have only a year left on his contract this summer, which is when Chelsea are expected to listen to offers all over again – with Tottenham known admirers of the gifted grafter who has won possession in the final third more than any other player in the Premier League this season.

West Ham are among those to have shown an interest in previous windows, yet one well-placed source has talked down the prospect of them re-entering the race.

Chelsea would much rather deal with the likes of them than commit transfer treason with Tottenham, though West Ham sense the asking fee will still be north of £45million. Not a crazy valuation by Chelsea’s standards, considering Mason Mount was sold to Manchester United for £55m rising to £60m with a year remaining and they wanted £50m for Armando Broja in January.

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart were at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to see Gallagher secure the 3-2 win over Leeds as a substitute. It was a nice moment for the 24-year-old who is never shy in saying he ‘loves’ the club he has occasionally captained.

Pochettino on Gallagher - Bóng Đá

Manager Mauricio Pochettino wants him to stay – describing him as ‘priceless’ and showing his support for him after his missed chances in the Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool – but he has been here before. Tottenham sold one of their most talented players Mousa Dembele in January 2019 when his contract was expiring and their second half of the season suffered in his absence, even if they did add some cash to the coffers.

Managers value Gallagher more than money, though whether he will be wearing a Chelsea shirt next season remains as uncertain as ever.