After years of being lost in the loan wilderness, young Nathaniel Chalobah looked to have finally made the step up to the Chelsea first team last season, playing a crucial role at times, even, as Antonio Conte guided the Blues to an unlikely Premier League title. But questions remain about the 22-year-old’s future, with Chelsea dipping back into the market for big-money acquisitions in his position and media blowhards like Ray Wilkins crowing over unfairness of that all.
Meanwhile, Chalobah has just a year left on his contract with hardly a peep about a contract extension. Throw into that mix the fates of Solanke, Traoré, and probably Aké, too, and it’s not hard to construct a scenario where Chalobah might not be long for Chelsea.
Who might be interested? According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Serie A side Torino just might be and have put the midfielder on their transfer shortlist for this summer.
Torino are looking to build on their 9th place finish from last season and have already acquired Salvatore Sirigu from Paris Saint-Germain to take over at goalkeeper from Manchester City loanee Joe Hart. They are also hoping to retain the services of highly rated young striker Andrea Belotti while adding to their midfield, which is where Chalobah comes in alongside Stoke City’s Giannelli Imbula.
Chalobah has previous experience playing in Italy. Although he only made 9 appearances while on loan at Napoli in 2015-16, he still built up a pretty reputation for himself and clearly enjoyed his time in Naples. Turin isn’t Naples, obviously, but it’s closer than London.
In any case, hopefully this rumor won’t move beyond the shortlist stage and Chalobah won’t end up the next “failure” to be held against Chelsea’s system of player development. Conte’s already shown last season that he can trust the young man in important situations, and with our extended schedule and the potential likelihood of Nemanja Matić leaving, Chalobah should be in line for more opportunities next season.
Having said that, if Chalobah’s patience has indeed run out as some have claimed it likely, at least Chelsea seem to have finally learned about the importance of buy-back clauses, so at least we’ve got that going for us.