No guarantees over Conor Gallagher's future, says Pochettino
(Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino is unsure whether Conor Gallagher will remain a Chelsea player this month amid growing uncertainty over the midfielder's future.

Gallagher, 23, has 18 months remaining on his current deal and has been targeted by London rivals Tottenham, who made a verbal bid for the England international in the summer.

He has started 19 out of 20 games in the league this season - the most out of any player under Pochettino - only missing the defeat to Manchester United through suspension in December.

Despite this, the academy graduate has been made available for transfer and it remains unclear whether he will stay at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup third-round tie against Preston, Pochettino said: "Conor still has a year and a half on his contract with us. And when you arrive at this point it's normal to talk and take a decision for the future. This is going to be between the club and the player. But nothing to announce, nothing to say. The club is happy with him and he is happy here."

Gallagher has 18 months remaining on his Chelsea contract (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Gallagher has 18 months remaining on his Chelsea contract and faces an uncertain future (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

If a sale is to be sanctioned by the club they would demand north of £50M, with funds needing to be raised to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

On the chances of Gallagher staying, he added: "I cannot, no [guarantee he will stay at the club]. I can't even guarantee I am going to be here tomorrow. Only the player can guarantee or the club, the player more so than the club because he's got a year and a half left.

"He can say, 'yes, I am going to stay because my coach can allow me to stay and be here' and then the club has to do a negotiation, as always, to make the best decision for the club and the team."

  • 'We need to take some decisions'

The prospect of further incomings this month has not been ruled out.

The club are weighing up their options and are reportedly targeting a striker, centre-back and left-back. Any potential moves will likely hinge on outgoings, however.

Andrey Santos, who signed from Brazilian outfit Vasco de Gama 12 months ago, has seen his loan spell with Nottingham Forest cut short after only making two appearances.

The Brazilian international, yet to make his competitive debut for The Blues, could provide cover in midfield in the absence of Lesley Ugochukwu, who is set to miss up to six weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury against Wolves. He trained with the first team on Thursday and could feature against Preston.

Asked about potential transfer activity, he said: "We need to sit together, in an official meeting. I think we are all always, every single day, talking about the squad. Now the market is open. There are some players that we own like Andrey Santos who has come back from loan from Nottingham Forest. We need to take some decisions.

"I think I am happy with the squad that we have. We are focused on recovering the players as soon as possible. But at the moment, yes we are assessing the things we see in the squad and see some possibilities. Maybe we can do or not, but at the moment we did not take any decisions."

Santos only clocked 97 minutes during his tenure at the City Ground (Photo by Ritchie Sumpter/NFFC via Getty Images)
Santos only clocked 97 minutes during his tenure at the City Ground (Photo by Ritchie Sumpter/NFFC via Getty Images)

The Blues have won the FA Cup eight times - only Manchester United (12) and Arsenal (14) have been more successful in the competition.

Asked if Chelsea can win it, the manager said: "Of course. The Carabao Cup and FA Cup are competitions we need to try to go further and arrive. Before we need to go step by step.

"The first step is tomorrow. it is a really important competition for us because we are not in European competition and in the Premier League we need to improve a lot if we want to play in Europe next season.

"Through the FA Cup or Carabao Cup we can achieve to play next season in Europe. It's important because from the start we had three competitions and we are still in three competitions."