Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah has revealed he made the decision to leave Chelsea as he would’ve been “frustrated” by another loan spell away from the Blues.
The 22-year-old came through the Academy at Stamford Bridge but spent time out on-loan at six different sides – including a successful spell with Serie A side Napoli.
The reported fee for his services was around £5-7m on a five-year deal last month, having made 15 appearances for Chelsea – only one start, all of which came last season.
Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio last month, Chalobah was quoted as saying: “I wanted to come out and play.”
Having initially signed professional terms with the Blues in 2012, he regularly captained their youth sides to success but a direct pathway to first-team football was increasingly difficult.
Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and the aforementioned Napoli were the destinations for Chalobah out on loan spells elsewhere to earn first-team football and gain experience in the meantime.
“Being at Chelsea, I would have signed a new deal and gone out on loan again and got frustrated. That was the choice I had to make, but it was emotional leaving Chelsea. The conversation I had with the manager Antonio Conte was positive but it was a decision I had to make after being on loan six times.”
Chalobah made 42 appearances during his loan spell at Vicarage Road in 2012-13, and spoke highly about his experiences elsewhere in London.
“Watford was my first loan and things went well. It was my best loan and positive when I was here. I was looking forward to coming back.”
Chalobah made 40 appearances for the England u21 side and has revealed his aims to break into England’s senior squad – looking to impress Gareth Southgate, who managed him at youth level.
“It is an opportunity for me. Gareth Southgate has always said that if I am doing well at my club, he likes what he sees, then there is a definite chance of getting in his team. I have got to grasp it with both hands and put the performances forward. He has drafted in Southampton’s Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse who are the same age as me. That is positive because it shows if you are doing well at your club, there is no reason why you won’t get your chance.”