Chelsea

Conor Gallagher’s role in Mauricio Pochettino exit as Chelsea’s priorities laid bare

Following talks with the Chelsea sporting directors, Mauricio Pochettino departed the club by mutual consent on Tuesday, and Conor Gallagher may yet follow him from Stamford Bridge.

The departure of Mauricio Pochettino from Chelsea seems to have cleared the way forward for the Blues in many ways.

Although there seems to have been an agreement to part ways amicably, with the decision reached through mutual consent, Pochettino’s exit serves as an example of the ideological problems with the club’s athletic hierarchy. After a year in charge, the 52-year-old departs Stamford Bridge, leaving the team to choose a new permanent manager for the third time in the previous two years.

Less than a year ago, Pochettino was appointed head coach and given the authority to work with the team. Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, the sporting directors, would be in charge of determining the direction and structure of the club’s hiring.

Although the former Chelsea manager had previously downplayed the idea in favor of working with his own team, he was scheduled to welcome Brentford’s set piece maestro Bernardo Cueva this summer. Pochettino’s and the club’s priorities did not always coincide, and his contribution to Chelsea’s transfers was insufficient.

Conor Gallagher provides the best illustration of that, I think. It was clear how Pochettino would use a profile like Gallagher’s when he arrived. Rather, the head coach was immediately confronted with concerns about the future of the Cobham product.

The former Crystal Palace loanee was made available for transfer by the club last summer. Bids were received, but the Blues’ asking price was thought to be too high. As Gallagher approaches his last 12 months, it seems that significant negotiations to extend his future have not taken place nearly a year later.

Pochettino has always kept a distance from Gallagher’s contract status. Regardless, his emotions were evident as the 24-year-old was the only Chelsea star to play for over 4,000 minutes in the 2023–2024 season.

Conor Gallagher's role in Mauricio Pochettino exit as Chelsea's priorities laid bare

Chelsea fans unveiled a banner for Conor Gallagher before playing Spurs ( Image: Getty Images)

In May, Pochettino declared, “I am not involved, I know nothing, I cannot tell you.” “As you can see from my starting lineup, I believe we had a great season together.

He is undoubtedly a significant player. However, the club and Conor make the decision; I have no say in it. I have no involvement in the matter; the player and the club need to work things out.

Gallagher’s impact was described by Pochettino as “priceless,” and the midfield player led Chelsea when Ben Chilwell and Reece James were not available. Regardless of his status, it seems the club may place more value on the player’s ability to generate pure profit in order to relieve pressure on sustainability and profit.

Upon his appointment, Pochettino took on a reduced role in Chelsea’s transfer activity. Prior to the former Tottenham coach’s arrival at Stamford Bridge in July, a significant overhaul had begun, resulting in the departure of players like N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, and Kai Havertz.

“They gave an overview of the project. On the day of the September transfer deadline, Pochettino stated, “We agreed.” He later said, “I said I need to be more involved now in all the decisions when the transfer window was closed.”

It became apparent by the end of 2023–2024 that Pochettino’s influence was optional. “The club makes that decision. In his last press conference, Pochettino stated, “Like it was from the start, we are going to be there to help and if not, we are going to do our job.”

It should come as no surprise that the Argentine suggested in his last few weeks that the club’s administration may still give him as much influence over his future at Stamford Bridge.

At this point, it is evident that the project and Chelsea’s culture will come first. The club will soon find itself back in the same predicament, so their next head coach will need to be fully on board.

 

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