According to a recent report by Goal, Southampton are believed to be keen on England U21 International and Chelsea Youngster, Nathaniel Chalobah.
Numerous sources in recent weeks have stated that Marco Silva’s Watford are currently leading the race for the destructive midfielder, but Southampton are now keen to hijack the Hornets plans.
A bid in the region of £5M appears to be all that’s needed to prise the youngster from Chelsea’s grips, with Chalobah holding just one year left on his current contract.
But just where would he fit into our squad? And what can we as a club do to convince Chalobah to make the switch?
As a self-proclaimed admirer of Chalobah in recent years, this is a deal that certainly interests me; and here’s why…
Southampton are fortunate enough to boast a midfield with many young and creative options, yet despite this, we hold just one out and out defensive midfielder in Oriol Romeu. With the potential acquisition of Chalobah however, Mauricio Pellegrino has the tactical flexibility to select a compact two-man midfield partnership, similar to that of the Pochettino era.
Being able to organise a midfield of this style could prove to be crucial in handling the attacking threat of the Premier League’s top six sides – a challenge we failed to pass last season. We’re sorely missing a physical core at the heart of our midfield, and this is something that I want to return to our side, not only for the defensive stability, but also for the attacking freedom it gifts our frontline.
It’s also worth noting that if Chalobah does make the switch, he would have one hell of a first-team mentor in Romeu. Chalobah has shown glimpses of his obvious talent in the past, but has failed to channel this into a consistent string of performances at a top level.
With an experienced and intelligent player like Romeu, Chalobah has someone that can guide him in finding his role and responsibilities in the side; when to dive in, when to sit deep, when to press, and when to take risks on the ball. These are all questions that Chalobah will need help answering as an inexperienced midfielder.
But whilst this inexperience in the Chelsea side will no doubt raise a few questions marks over Southampton fans heads, I believe that we would have no need to worry.
Firstly because Chelsea’s pathway between the academy and the first team is a battered and bruised road, but secondly, because Romeu and Bertrand’s situations at the London based club weren’t a million miles away either.
Both of these current Saints showed promise at a big club from a young age, were then rewarded with a number of opportunities, before quickly being discarded from the first team the moment that there was a hill to climb. Through hot competition, injury and even inexperience, some ridiculously talented players can fall through the net at Chelsea Football Club.
But with thanks to the faith and guidance of Southampton, they’ve been able to revive their careers and show their full potential.
Presenting young talented individuals the opportunity to succeed and develop is what Southampton Football Club do best, and that’s exactly why I would love to see us take the gamble on Nathaniel Chalobah.