Why Connor Gallagher could add that X-Factor to Burnley’s midfield
According to the Daily Mail, Burnley have been linked with a January move for Chelsea academy graduate Connor Gallagher, who has impressed on loan at Charlton Athletic in the Championship this season.
The 19-year-old, who was named as Chelsea’s Academy Player of the Year back in May, has drawn admiring glances from Burnley’s scouts due to his consistently impressive displays on his loan spell at The Valley this term.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche roped in Danny Drinkwater on loan from Chelsea this past summer to improve his midfield options but he could be in the market once again for a new central midfielder in January after the loanee’s disappointing impact. (h/t Daily Mail)
Gallagher, though, isn’t the only player in the Championship to have caught the eye of Burnley, who have also been linked with moves for Derby County right-back, Jayden Bogle, and Bristol City midfielder Josh Brownhill, the Daily Mail understands.
As per the report, Chelsea have an option to recall Gallagher during the mid-season trading period in January and Burnley are preparing yet another raid on the Blues to secure the services of the highly-rated teenager on a permanent deal.
The 19-year-old, who has also made his U-21 breakthrough for England this season, has featured in all but one of Charlton’s 22 games in the Championship so far, starting on 20 occasions and starring with 6 goals and 2 assists.
Primarily featuring as a left-sided box-to-box midfielder in Lee Bowyer’s preferred 4-1-2-1-2 formation, Gallagher has earned plaudits for his tireless work-rate, both on and off the ball, while also demonstrating a good eye for goal and a natural ability to contribute equally to both attack and defence.
Indeed, those claims are well backed up by his statistics at Charlton this season. As per whoscored, Gallagher boasts of a pass success rate of 78.2, including 2 tackles, 1 interception, 0.7 key passes and 2.1 long balls per game in the Championship, figures which lie testament to his well-rounded attributes as a box-to-box enforcer.
To put things into perspective, Connor Gallagher has been making waves on his loan spell in the Championship this season and Burnley are well within their rights to look at the teenager as a feasible option to add more spark to their rather workmanlike midfield cavalry.
Despite their impressive rise to a competent mid-table outfit in the Premier League under the stewardship of Dyche, the Clarets have often come under criticism for their lack of creativity. Having accumulated 21 points from 17 games so far, Burnley look set for yet another mid-table finish this season following a decent first half of the campaign.
However, the club’s next objective should be to push on for greater heights in the Premier League, having already consolidated their status as a top-flight club, and new signings could hold the key in that regard.
With the strike partnership of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood continuing to work wonders and the centre-back pairing of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee also flourishing, Burnley need to look at potential options in the market to strengthen their midfield.
The defensive midfield duo of Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood has thrived and excelled under Dyche’s old-school philosophy in the Premier League that is largely based on grinding it out rather than taking the game to the opposition.
Jeff Hendrick, on the other hand, has been the man tasked with a more advanced box-to-box role over the past three seasons, but Burnley currently do not have enough competition for the former Derby County graduate. Moreover, Henrick’s long-term future at Turf Moor is still up in the air, with the Irishman’s contract set to expire in 2020.
With that in mind, an exciting young talent like Connor Gallagher, who seems to have the right kind of balance in his game, both in terms of creativity and work-rate, could be an excellent addition to Burnley’s midfield, and he is certainly worth a punt regardless of Hendrick’s future at the club.
On top of that, Dyche has always preferred to build a squad around homegrown talents and Gallagher is only going to get better with time as his career wears on.
The 19-year-old has already proven himself to be a cut above the rest in the Championship and he looks more than capable of making an impact in the Premier League in the near future.
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It remains to be seen whether Chelsea, who have enjoyed the fruits of placing their trust in homegrown young talents this season under Frank Lampard, would be willing to part ways with their Connot Gallagher, but Burnley shouldn’t hesitate to test their resolve with a handsome bid in January.