Chelsea slap £50m price tag on star midfielder amid Aston Villa interest

England v Bosnia & Herzegovina - International Friendly
England v Bosnia & Herzegovina - International Friendly / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Chelsea are playing hardball over their £50 million valuation of academy graduate Conor Gallagher, with ambitious Aston Villa emerging as a prime suitor for the 24-year-old midfielder. The Blues have made their demands crystal clear amidst Villa's keen interest in acquiring Gallagher's services this summer.

The England international, who has just one year remaining on his Stamford Bridge contract, enjoyed an impressive 2022/23 campaign, making more appearances (50) than any other Chelsea player across all competitions. His consistent performances, which yielded seven goals and nine assists, have not gone unnoticed by potential suitors.

Villa, fresh off securing a coveted Champions League spot, view Gallagher as an ideal addition to bolster their squad ahead of their first European campaign in over four decades. The Villans have already opened negotiations with Chelsea, exploring potential avenues to strike a deal for the highly-rated midfielder.

One option being discussed is the inclusion of Colombian striker Jhon Duran as a makeweight in the deal. The 20-year-old Duran, who joined Villa in January 2023 for £18 million, scored eight goals in his debut Premier League season and was previously on Chelsea's radar, making him an attractive bargaining chip.

However, Chelsea are adamant about securing a substantial fee for their homegrown talent, unwilling to budge from their £50 million valuation. The Blues are keen to cash in on Gallagher to raise funds and comply with the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability rules, with a sale this summer representing pure profit for the club.

Chelsea legend Joe Cole has urged the club's owners not to part ways with Gallagher, emphasising his importance to the dressing room and his understanding of the club's values. Cole told talkSPORT,

"If I was sitting in front of the owners, I'd be telling them that Conor is arguably the most important player in that dressing room in terms of what he brings to the club, he understands the club."

Tottenham Hotspur, who failed in their pursuit of Gallagher during the January transfer window, are also monitoring the situation closely. However, they were previously unwilling to meet Chelsea's £50 million valuation, which remains unchanged despite Gallagher's impressive performances last season.

Amid the transfer speculation, Gallagher has welcomed the appointment of Enzo Maresca as Chelsea's new manager, expressing excitement and optimism about working with the Italian tactician.

The future of Conor Gallagher remains uncertain, with Chelsea's demands and Aston Villa's ambitions set to shape the narrative in the coming weeks.