Chelsea Academy graduate Nathaniel Chalobah impressed in the few opportunities he got last season after many years lost in the loan wilderness. Chelsea were hoping to build on that and wanted to extend his stay at the club for a further five years. However, Chalobah's aspirations went above and beyond the uncertainties of his role in light of Tiemoué Bakayoko's impending arrival.
Today, one of his former loan clubs, Watford, have confirmed his signing on a five-year contract.
Chalobah joined Chelsea at the age of 10 in 2005. His swift progression in the youth ranks had him making his first appearance in Chelsea's U18 team as a 15-year-old in 2009, and then captaining the Blues towards the club's fourth FA Youth Cup title of their history in 2012. Shortly after he joined Watford to make his debut as a professional, becoming a staple of the team managed by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola that reached the Championship playoffs in the 2012-13 season.
The ensuing loan spells at Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli from 2013 to 2016 were not as successful for Chalobah, but he still gave solid outings in his appearances throughout these years. He received offers from several clubs in the 2016 summer window, but Conte himself stepped in and rejected those approaches as he wanted the youngster to stay with our first team and join our efforts in battling for the Premier League title.
He now returns to Watford on a rumoured £5 million fee with no add-ons or buyback clause added, and a contract lasting until June 2022. The lack of a buyback clause is questionable in light of the clear talent he has shown throughout the years, but only the future will tell whether we committed a mistake in this regard.
Good luck, Chalobah.