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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Newcastle: Howe handed Gallagher lifeline

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Newcastle United could yet seal a last-minute deal to bring Conor Gallagher to St James’ Park on transfer deadline day.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to Luke Edwards, who revealed in a live update on The Telegraph on Monday morning that, despite Chelsea being unwilling to loan the midfielder to a direct rival for a top-four spot in the Premier League, the Magpies will nevertheless launch a further enquiry for the 22-year-old in the coming hours.

The journalist went on to state that, while the Blues are demanding a fee in excess of £50m for the England international – which might put the youngster out of the Magpies’ price range – Eddie Howe’s side could still complete a deal at this figure prior to tonight’s deadline by bringing forward some of their summer transfer budget.


While it is true that Gallagher has struggled to hold down a regular spot in the Chelsea XI this season – starting just nine of his 18 top-flight outings – considering the remarkable performances the midfielder turned in during a season-long loan spell at Crystal Palace last time out, the argument that Howe must launch a late bid for the 22-year-old is an easy one to make.

Indeed, over his 34 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the £38.5m-rated talent was in fantastic attacking form, bagging eight goals, providing three assists and creating five big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.5 shots, making 1.1 key passes and completing 1.3 dribbles – at a success rate of 57% – per game.

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The £50k-per-week midfielder also caught the eye in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.0 tackles, 0.9 interceptions and winning 5.9 duels – at a success rate of 47% – per match, as well as enjoying an average of 51.6 touches, finding his man with 1.4 long balls and completing 25.1 total passes – at a success rate of 81% – per fixture.

These returns saw the four-cap international who Mark Duffy dubbed “unreal” average an incredibly impressive Sofascore statistical rating of 7.08, ranking him as the Eagles’ best performer in the league last season.

Rather unsurprisingly, the 22-year-old’s performances in south London saw him come in for a considerable amount of praise, with ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel stating of the midfielder last year: “His development is extraordinary and outstanding. He is one of the key players at Crystal Palace and he has made a huge step in his development.

“He was a pleasure to coach in pre-season – he has so much positive energy, so much energy in general and so much work rate to give that he can of course be a big help and a big influence.”

As such, with Jonjo Shelvey now looking set to seal a late switch to Nottingham Forest, it would appear even more essential for Howe to add another midfielder to his current options at St James’ Park, with Gallagher undoubtedly representing an extraordinary last-minute signing for Newcastle to get over the line on deadline day.

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