Aston Villa open talks to set up deal for Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher

Aston Villa have opened talks with Chelsea over a deal for Conor ­Gallagher. Unai Emery is desperate to sign the England midfielder, who is expected to cost at least £50m, and is looking to move quickly in an attempt to land one of his key summer targets.

Tottenham also retain an ­interest in Gallagher, who has a year left on his contract, and the 24-year-old could be in even bigger demand if he impresses for England at Euro 2024.

Chelsea are expected to welcome bids for Gallagher, even though the player is not in a rush to leave his boyhood club. They have made little progress in talks over a new deal and will not want to find themselves in danger of losing him on a free transfer next year.

Chelsea can minimise their risk of falling foul of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability ­regulations by making big sales this summer and know that money received for ­Gallagher, who is an academy ­product, will go down in their accounts as pure profit.

It remains to be seen if Villa, who need to strengthen their squad after qualifying for the Champions League, can afford to go as high as £50m. They may need one or two sales to fund their bid for Gallagher, although they could also boost their chances of reaching an agreement with ­Chelsea by including Jhon Durán as part of the deal. Chelsea have been monitoring the 20-year-old Colombian striker since January.

Emery loves Gallagher’s energy and is determined to convince him to join his side. From Chelsea’s perspective, though, selling Gallagher would be a gamble. He is a fan favourite and he could be followed through the exit door by another homegrown player, Trevoh Chalobah, who is a target for Manchester United.

Enzo Maresca, Chelsea’s new head coach, could have to plan for life ­without both Gallagher and Chalobah. Maresca’s predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino, wanted to keep both players.

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Chelsea are willing to explore other options and are poised to complete the signing of the Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer. Their next big move will be to bring in a striker to compete with Nicolas Jackson. Chelsea are still tracking the RB Leipzig forward Benjamin Sesko, who is wanted by Arsenal.

The Guardian

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