According to reports from The Sun over the past day, Chelsea and England midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah could be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge this summer for a hugely cut-price transfer fee.
It is understood that the 22-year-old could be put on the market for little over £5 million, with Premier League sides Watford and Swansea City alleged to be the front-runners to secure their man.
But contrasting reports from the Mirror have claimed that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is prepared to offer Chalobah £65,000-a-week – a £20,000 raise – to persuade him to stay in the English capital.
Does Chalobah have the quality to be in the Premier League?
For years now, the 22-year-old has been on the precipice of breaking into the Blues’ first-team, featuring every now and then for Chelsea and slotting in and performing well whenever selected.
This, added with 40 appearances for England’s Under-21 outfit – making him the third-most experienced player at that age range – has made him one of the hottest British prospects.
Yet, despite receiving a Premier League winners’ medal last year, as Chelsea were rampant on their way to the title, Chalobah was only awarded ten appearances by Conte – and only one start against Watford.
A player of his calibre arguably deserves to be playing week in, week out, with his endless work-rate whilst on the pitch and his vast experience for somebody of his age far too good for the subs bench.
Spells at Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and a less successful stint playing for Napoli in Italy have left Chalobah mature beyond his years, and it’s easy to forget he is only 22.
Strongest when driving from the heart of the midfield with intent, his versatility, to play in a deep role or in a more advanced position, would be an asset for any team. He has already shown enough glimpses of his potential to be one of the best in the Premier League – despite rare first-team action.
With the announcement of Monaco’s highly-rated midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko growing closer at Stamford Bridge – as per ESPN sources – there is little chance of regular first-team action next season.
Whether Watford, Swansea or another unknown side swoop in and secure Chalobah – which, for £5 million, is frankly ridiculous – they would easily be making one of the signings of the summer.