Sam Allardyce believes West Bromwich Albion’s disappointing form in the Premier League has been beneficial for Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, who he would like to keep at the Hawthorns next season if the Baggies avoid relegation.
The 21-year-old joined West Brom on a season-long loan deal last summer and has established himself as a fixture in their midfield, making 24 starts in all competitions.
Gallagher has impressed under first Slaven Bilic and more recently Allardyce. But he hasn’t been able to stop the Baggies from occupying the Premier League relegation zone.
West Brom currently sit 19th in the top-flight table and have won just three league matches all season. With only nine games to play, they are ten points away from safety.
It is something of a mismatch and West Brom’s chances are further impacted by the fact Gallagher is not allowed to feature against his parent club.
After a productive campaign at the Hawthorns, Chelsea will have to make a decision this summer as to whether to incorporate Gallagher into their first-team squad or loan him out once more.
Allardyce believes the latter choice would be the wisest, especially if West Brom can pull off the unlikely and survive.
“If we stay in the Premier League, I would hope he would be here and not Chelsea,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“He would be better off being with us. When you lose more than you win, it makes you tougher and more determined. It will only stand him in good stead.”
That assertion will, somewhat understandably, be scoffed at by many a Chelsea fan. Yet it’s one that was echoed by Gallagher while on international duty with England’s Under-21s this week.
“It’s [the loan move to West Brom] the best thing I could have done,” he said.
“I know people have other views on players going on loan and I’ve been at three different teams, but it’s three different experiences and teams with styles, different managers and players. I’ve learned a lot already in two years. Hopefully I can continue to learn as a player.
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
You won’t miss a single thing when it comes to Chelsea.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening. And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“I’ve definitely kicked on. I was excited to play in the Premier League this season, a step up from the Championship last season. I’ve loved every minute of it.
“Hopefully I keep developing and improving. It’s been a tough season for West Brom, so [I’ve learnt about] doing the dirty side of the game, the importance of work off the ball.
“Premier League quality will punish you if you switch off so need to be concentrated and focused.”