Newcastle: Conor Gallagher is the perfect Longstaff upgrade

The Chelsea midfielder is reportedly available this summer…

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe is interested in signing Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher, and has received a boost in his pursuit following fresh reports.

What’s the latest on Conor Gallagher to Newcastle?
According to talkSPORT’s Alex Crook, the beleaguered Blues are set to sell up to five homegrown stars this summer to finance the summer rebuild and trim the inflated squad.

The Magpies are said to have been ‘alerted’ to the possibility of signing the £40m-rated midfielder this summer, with technical director Dan Ashworth eyeing multiple signings to bolster the ranks on Tyneside after Newcastle qualified for next season’s Champions League.

Everton lodged a £45m bid for the 23-year-old in January but failed to ensnare their man, though Newcastle boast the affluence and allure to get a deal over the line and fortify their ranks with an industrious new engine.

Should Newcastle sign Conor Gallagher?
Gallagher burst into prominence in the Premier League after dazzling out on loan with Crystal Palace in 2021/22; he had played the previous campaign with West Bromwich Albion but found his feet resoundingly at Selhurst Park.

As per Sofascore, the six-cap England international recorded an impressive average rating of 7.08 with the Eagles, making 33 appearances, scoring eight goals and supplying three assists, completing 81% of his passes and averaging two tackles per match.

That unsurprisingly saw him lavished with praise by NBC Sports journalist Joe Prince-Wright, who said he’s “like peak Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard rolled into one”.

While such a claim sets lofty heights, Gallagher is indeed an assiduous midfielder with a knack for encompassing the full scope of a box-to-box midfielder’s work in his approach on the pitch, and while he has enjoyed a somewhat unsuccessful season at Stamford Bridge, this is largely down to the disarray that Chelsea have been embroiled in this term, finishing 12th in the Premier League after spending £600m across two transfer windows under Todd Boehly’s ownership.

Despite his team’s woes, the “relentless” Gallagher – as he has been praised by one journalist – still ranks among the top 24% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues for rate of non-penalty goals, the top 22% for rate of tackles, the top 19% for progressive carries and the top 21% for successful take-ons per 90, illustrating his dynamism that Howe would engulf in a heartbeat.

The £50k-per-week conductor would be the dream upgrade on Sean Longstaff, who has been a success story at St. James’ Park and is beloved by the Toon faithful as a hometown talent, but he is hardly indispensable.

Rising through the youth ranks at Newcastle, Longstaff has played 41 matches across all competitions this season and has been hailed as his side’s “unsung hero” by pundit Paul Merson, completing 83% of his passes in the top-flight this year, creating six big chances and averaging 1.3 tackles per game.

Compared to the Chelsea man, he ranks as low down as the bottom 22% for progressive carries per 90 and the bottom 18% for tackles per 90; not promising signs when pitting the pair together.

The £50k-per-week Magpie has even been touted as high as £50m by Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie for his feats this season, and while such a staggering sum might not be an apt reflection of his true market value, he is unequivocally resurgent under Howe’s wing.

Gallagher, however, would be a better fit in the squad, and the club must ensure that his signature is procured this summer as the ascent continues.