Chelsea loan army: Keep, loan or sell? Trevoh Chalobah (Part 5)

In Part 4 of this series, I broke down Juan Castillo’s career at Chelsea and discussed what his future in football looks like. For those who haven’t read the introductory piece to this series, a different player will be the subject of a new article every day. I began with goalkeepers and am currently in the process of working my way up the pitch, with each position group being sorted in order by the way in which they appear on the club’s website.

As I move on with the loan army series, I continue the deep dive into the defensive loanees with Trevoh Chalobah. The Chalobah family name is one all Blues fans should know after Trevoh’s older brother, Nathaniel, spent 12 seasons with the club. While Nathaniel is a low-scale cult hero amongst newer supporters, it is his younger sibling who is currently still with the club and looking like the far more promising prospect thus far. Without further ado, let’s break down Chalobah’s young career.

What does Trevoh Chalobah’s Chelsea career look like?

Chalobah signed with the Blues as an under-nine prospect. He put pen to paper just two years after his older brother made the move over from west London neighbors, Fulham. Chalobah took the Reece James route during his early academy years, perfecting his trade at a plethora of positions—mainly right back, centerback and defensive midfield. He brought success with him wherever he went at the youth levels, helping the Blues secure Youth Cups almost every season he was involved, as well as a Youth Cup and U18 Premier League. Chalobah was constantly playing with those older than him, which speaks to the technical ability he possesses.

He made his first appearances amongst the senior team during the 2017/18 season. Antonio Conte named Chalobah to the bench on numerous occasions, most notably the FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Although he didn’t feature in the contest, it was still great experience for an 18-year-old defender to have. These inclusions saw him elevated into the professional game; he would never look back.

Ipswich Town, a then-Championship side, acquired Chalobah during the 2018/19 season on a year-long loan. The young defender featured 44 times across all competitions for the Tractor Boys, scoring twice and racking up one assist throughout the season. They were eventually relegated into League One, but by no fault of the centerback, who impressed in one of the division’s worst sides.

Huddersfield Town took note of Chalobah’s mature performances and offered him a second crack at the Championship the following season. Before departing in the summer of 2019, Chalobah signed his first contract extension with Chelsea, which ran through 2022. Despite the Terriers surviving relegation by a sliver—finishing 18th, three points above the drop zone—Chalobah was once again a standout performer. He featured in 38 matches, including 37 of the 46 league games.

After two outstanding individual campaigns in England’s second division, the English centerhalf wasn’t about to be kept out of a European top flight. He signed yet another contract extension with the Blues in the summer of 2020 before joining Ligue 1’s Lorient. Chalobah found it tough to break into the French side’s starting XI in the start of the season, but he’s since found his footing. Chalobah has been a mainstay in Les Merlus’ back line and has only been present for one league loss since January. That was to league-leading Lille. The 21-year-old has played in 23 games total, scoring the opening goal in Lorient’s 3-2 win over Dijon. He will return to Cobham at the end of June, hopefully after helping his loan club escape relegation for a second consecutive season.

This begs the question: what does Chelsea do with Chalobah this summer?

Verdict: Loan

Chalobah is one of the most talented youngsters in the Blues’ loan army. He’s got loads of potential and his swift rise through the ranks at the club and international levels displays this perfectly. While it’s true Chalobah has played for three clubs in a row that faced the prospect of relegation, he’s been exceptional each time. He’s not quite ready for a shot at making the Blues’ first team, but a loan to an opposing Premier League club may be a necessity. It’s a matter of when—not if—Chalobah makes it into Chelsea’s first team, it seems.

Remember to check back with The Pride of London each and every day as I dive into the largely uncharted world of Chelsea’s famous loan army. Part 6’s subject is defender Jake Clarke-Salter.