Come one, come all to the Chelsea youth fire-sale! Next up, Nathaniel Chalobah, who was reported to be in talks with the likes of Watford and Swansea but also was going to partake in discussions with Chelsea over a new contract, as his current deal has entering its final year. But it seems that his list of potential suitors has been narrowed down to just Watford, with whom he is now in advanced discussions with, according to The Mirror’s John Cross.
Nathaniel Chalobah in talks with Watford as Chelsea prospect wants Prem game time https://t.co/ukZikN7PgI— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) July 5, 2017
To put it simply — what’s happened with Nathan Ake is now happening with Chalobah. With just one year remaining on his current deal, it’s time for Chalobah to either renew or move permanently. He’s done more than his fair share as a loanee; that’s no longer an option. Ake had more time left on his contract, but the underlying issue with both was that of playing time.
The aforementioned article claims that there were talks between the club (namely Antonio Conte) and Chalobah, and that while Conte rates the youngster highly, he couldn’t provide any sort of assurances with respect to playing time. As for the details of this proposed move to Watford, the fee looks to be in the region of £5 million with no add-ons and no buy-back clause either (at least not yet), as per @chelseayouth. It’s understandable to to rage at this figure on first glance, but with just one year left on Chalobah’s current deal, it doesn’t seem too much off the mark.
Couple more bits re Chalobah/Watford: £5m-ish set to be the fee, no add-ons and, though it could still happen, buy-back clause unlikely.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) July 5, 2017
Regardless of the situation with Nemanja Matic, who’s rumoured to be on his way out as well, the fact of the matter is that Chelsea have all but signed Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is just as old as Chalobah but has played more games in a top-flight European league and of course, the Champions League. Bakayoko is likely to take the majority of minutes available next to N’Golo Kante, with much of the rest going to Cesc Fabregas. It’s hence understandable that Chalobah would want to make a permanent move away from the club. There’s also the matter of the 2018 World Cup. England manager Gareth Southgate rates Chalobah highly as well and has hinted that with more regular game-time, the midfielder could make the transition from long-time youth player to a senior international in time for the tournament in Russia next summer.
It’s a transition period not just for the Chelsea first-team but for the Loan Army and youngsters as well. Ake, Solanke and Chalobah are moving on, and making room for the next generation.