Forest end Chelsea starlet's loan spell - Could Derby save his reputation?

Nathaniel Chalobah

Could Derby County be the side to help Chalobah recreate his Watford form after a dismal Nottingham Forest loan spell?

Forest fans will be left wondering what went wrong with their seemingly brilliant loan signing of one of the country's top prospects, as he heads back to Stamford Bridge with his tail between his legs. 

The young Chelsea star had already showcased himself as one of the better players in the Championship the season previous under Gianfranco Zola at Watford, playing an integral part of their promotion push which saw them lose out to a solitary goal in the play-off final.

The future looked incredibly bright for the England U21 midfielder and despite only just turning 18, he was turning heads in England's second-tier. He made his debut for Watford on the 18th September, when the Hornets were sitting 20th in the Championship.

It didn't take long for him to make an impact on the side and played a huge part in their rise to 3rd place, missing out on automatic promotion by just two points.

Upon returning to Stamford Bridge, it was Jose Mourinho that gave the green light on handing the starlet a huge 5-year-deal, commenting:

''He's a very, very good player and I like him very, very much. I am very impressed. For sure he is a Chelsea player.''

Unfortunately for Watford the player's new contract was too big for their financial situation and they couldn't warrant paying the large salary Chelsea was asking for each week.

So in September, it was big spending Nottingham Forest that finally pulled the trigger on a loan deal and at the time it seemed like one of the division's best signings.

However, football isn't played on paper and Nottingham Forest and Chalobah failed to settle at the club.

The England U21 midfielder looked isolated and uneasy with the Billy Davies methodology and struggled to really integrate himself into the side. In just shy of four months at the club, he only made 7 starts and 4 sub appearances and now returns to his parent club with a sizeable dent in his reputation from where it was 6-months ago.

Despite that, rumours have quickly spread that a number of Championship sides are ready to offer the Chelsea starlet another crack at the whip and a chance to prove his doubters wrong. And it wouldn't be beyond belief that Nottingham Forest's rivals Derby County could be one of the interested parties.

Steve McClaren has already indicated that he will look to deal when and where he can and having already enjoyed success in the loan market this season, could dip into it once again.

Jose Mourinho has admitted to being an admirer of the former England manager and praised his coaching style in the build up to their FA Cup third round match. Chelsea have already sent Patrick Bamford to Derby for the rest of the season and could use The Rams as a platform to build a Bamford and Chalobah relationship on the pitch.

Realistically, it would mean Chelsea paying a much larger proportion of the Chalobah's wage than they had to when he was at Forest. But, in the long run it could benefit the West London side.

Derby County are thought to be in the market for a defensive midfielder, as Kalifa Cisse missed out on a contract extension last week. And Chalobah could be the perfect answer.

image: © joncandy

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