Premier League • England

Joe Cole urges Chelsea to sign two stars amid Leverkusen comparison; makes Conor Gallagher plea

Joe Cole and Conor Gallagher, Chelsea

Joe Cole has given his verdict on Chelsea's big summer

Former Chelsea star Joe Cole has named the signings he wants the Blues to make this summer, while also urging Conor Gallagher to remain at Stamford Bridge.

Gallagher is a graduate of Chelsea’s famed Cobham academy who is nearing 100 appearances for the club. Following loan spells at West Brom and Crystal Palace, he has returned to West London and is now a key player for Chelsea.

Indeed, Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has placed his trust in Gallagher by giving him the armband on plenty of occasions this season.

However, it is not guaranteed that the England midfielder will be playing in Chelsea colours next term. Chelsea have yet to extend Gallagher’s contract beyond 2025, which has led to interest from rival teams.

Tottenham Hotspur recently leapfrogged Newcastle United in the chase for Gallagher, though Aston Villa are now eyeing him too.

Cole, who helped Chelsea lift nine trophies between 2003 and 2010, has begged Chelsea to secure the long-term future of the 24-year-old leader.

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“Conor Gallagher can’t leave. I know there are issues financially but Conor Gallagher has been brilliant, from start to finish,” the pundit said.

“Everyone has turned up in the last few weeks but Conor, you see a great player when he is playing in a struggling team. Conor was still there, captain as well.

Chelsea latest: ‘Imperative’ Conor Gallagher stays

“I think it is imperative that the club keeps him.”

When asked about Chelsea’s wider recruitment plans, Cole told Chelsea they must bring in experienced players, just like Bayer Leverkusen have done with Jonas Hofmann and Granit Xhaka.

“What is very important is the recruitment in the summer. You need experience, I wouldn’t say anywhere in particular,” he added.

“I don’t think the club need to add any more young players, they need experience.

“Very similar to what Bayer Leverkusen have done. They brought in Jonas Hofmann and another senior player (Xhaka), you can’t put a value on that.

“I think if I was advising the club, it would be two or three players in. Experienced players who know how to win games, good characters, set the tone in the dressing room.”

Despite Cole’s advice, Chelsea have won the race to bring in 17-year-old Brazilian winger Estevao Willian. Although, that deal could eventually be worth it as the teenager is viewed as a generational talent.

One transfer that would please Cole is the signing of an experienced centre-forward to replace Nicolas Jackson.

Chelsea are known to be chasing Victor Osimhen, who looks destined to leave Napoli in the summer. Osimhen is three years older than Jackson at 25 and has more experience at the top level, having fired Napoli to the Serie A title and Champions League quarter-finals last term.

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