Blackburn Interested in Sam Gallagher
Tuesday, 28th May 2019 10:28
According to the media Blackburn Rovers are preparing a bid for Sam Gallagher with it looking like the forward will be surplus to requirements at St Mary's
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray looks set to make a move for Sam Gallagher in the coming weeks with a starting bid of £5 million, however he has to sell first and that could be a stumbling block and could lead to other clubs jumping in before him.
Ironically Saints also have to sell players, not totally before they can buy, but to free up space in the squad not only for incoming transfer fees but also for wages and Gallagher and several like him including Harrison Reed will collectively help do that job on both fronts.
With his contract running out in two years, Saints have to make the decision to either give him another year but risk seeing him go for a much reduced price next summer as he enters the last year of his contract or cash in now.
Truth is that Gallagher has probably run his time at St Mary's, he has promise and can score goals as he has proved in loan spells at both Blackburn and Birmingham, but he has never quite done it at Saints.
When he came in the side under Pochettino 5 years ago there was promise and a total of 20 appearances saw two goals, one against Yeovil in the FA Cup and another against Norwich in the Premier League, But out of those 20 appearances only 3 were starts and he was clearly not quite ready.
He might have hoped that he would make a breakthrough the following season but an injury meant that he was unable to add to his tally and didn't make one appearance and the money received in transfers had enabled Saints to step up a knotch in paying big fees for players.
in 2015 a loan deal to MK Dons looked just the tickets to get some game time under his belt but it was a disaster, before six weeks were up he was dropped from the team and would not get any game time for 2 1/2 months, MK Dons gave him a few games in December to try and see if he was up to it, but in January it was agreed he would return to St Mary's.
The problem was that wit Charlie Austin just signed and the likes of Sadio Mane and Shane Long also in form he was nowhere near the first team and had to kick his heels for the rest of the season.
2016/17 saw him head on loan to Blackburn for the season and initially he made a great impression 9 goals in the first 20 games was a good tally, but then they dried up, from Xmas onwards he would score only twice more in the league and only once in the last three months of the season.
That meant that Blackburn fans seem to be a little split on whether he would be a good signing or not, it was very much a season of two halves and what half would they be signing.
2017/18 saw another loan move this time to Birmingham City and once again Sam failed to find true consistency, after scoring only once in the opening four months of his spell there, he suddenly went ballistic and scored six times in eight games, 5 in the League and 1 in the FA Cup. but as suddenly as it began the run was finished and he would not score in the last three months of the season although a calf injury did mean he would miss a few games.
At the start of 2018/19 it seemed an important season for Gallagher, having just turned 23 he needed to make the breakthrough at Saints or look elsewhere, under Mark Hughes all he had was 20 minutes off the bench at Brighton in the League cup and it has to be said he looked full of running and enthusiasm, but the big question was had he matured ?
Two appearances as sub against Derby County in the FA Cup did not do his chances much good though, he had plenty of running and hustle and bustle, but seemed to chase the ball rather than make the runs and make the ball find him, in simple terms he did not look much different than he had done 5 years earlier when he was 18.
But he would get only two meaningful chances in the Premier League going forward, the first against Cardiff was desperation stakes in the final 7 minutes as we employed two up front in Austin and Gallagher and threw the kitchen sink at them.
The second was a little longer, with Saints 1-0 up at Brighton Ralph Hasenhuttl opted to bring on Gallagher for Danny Ings with 23 minutes left, it changed the game in that suddenly Brighton seemed to get the upper hand, that wasn't Gallagher's fault per se, Brighton were desperate and threw everything foward, but Saints had lost something in attack and the ability to hold things up, Ings had played a game of making runs off the ball and drawing defenders out of position as he had done in the winning goal by creating space for Redmond to run at the defence and lay a killer pass for Hojbjerg's winner but that had suddenly gone.
Yes Gallagher was full of running and enthusiasm, but he chased the ball and didn't offer an outlet in the way Ings had done.
Some will say that Sam Gallagher didn't get much of a chance under Ralph and that cannot be denied, but clearly the Austrian had watched him closely in training and knew what his strengths and weaknesses are, he just didn't see him fitting in to his way of playing.
I don't think Gallagher is a bad player, but I do think he has to move on to prove it, in hindsight a relegation battle at both Blackburn and Birmingham was not the place to learn his craft, learn when to make runs and how to pull defenders out of position.
In simple terms I didn't see much difference in Sam Gallagher back in 2015 and now, he has the ability but not the knowledge how to harness it, comparisons can be drawn to Sam Vokes the Saints supporting now Stoke City forward, Vokes joined Wolves early in his career and their promotion to the Premier League in which he played a part, actually turned out to end his career at Molyneaux.
With barely a chance in the Wolves first team he too had several loan spells with little real success.
It was only when he joined Burnley then in the Championship that he blossomed and played a big part in two promotions as the Clarets established themselves as a top flight club.
He enjoyed four seasons in the Premier League at Turf Moor and did his bit in Burnley's rise before joining Stoke City.
Sam Gallagher should perhaps take a leaf out of the other Sam's book by dropping back to the Championship with a team that will spend as much time attacking than defending this time and truly learning his craft.
He will turn 24 in September and this is the age when he needs to be able to truly show he has what it takes, an old adage in football is that if you havent established yourself at the level you aspire to by the age of 24 then you are never going to do so, there are of course exceptions to any rule but in the main this one is quite truthful.
So I think it is goodbye to Sam Gallagher this summer and indeed good luck, nothing would please me more that seeing him flourish next season, I don't think it will be with Saints but in the Championship.
Photo: Action Images
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