What next for Nathaniel Chalobah after Chelsea return?

The midfielder/defender's loan spell at Burnley didn't come off as planned.

Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah returned to London this week after a disappointing loan spell at Burnley that saw him make just 4 appearances.

Just recently turned 20, there is still little doubt that the Sierra Leone born youngster remains one of the country's brightest midfield prospects, but just 69 minutes of first-team football at Turf Moor will have done little to help him fulfil that promise.

It is crazy to think that it has been two years since Chalobah went from Chelsea prospect to Championship star during Watford's promotion push of 2012-13. Under the stewardship of Blues legend Gianfranco Zola, then in the Vicarage Road hot seat, the powerful England Under-21 man looked to be on the fast track to the Chelsea first team, helping the Hornets to the playoff final. 

However, last season he failed to enjoy a similarly productive loan spell, spending a few months at both Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough, while the first half of the 2014-15 campaign has gone even worse for a player looking to make the step up to the English top flight.

What is good for Chelsea is that Chalobah is back at Stamford Bridge, and able to go out on loan once again to a club where he can continue to do his learning on the pitch, be that at a top Championship club or abroad, considering that earning Premier League minutes has been hard work.

Vitesse Arnhem may be an option, and are no strangers to taking Blues youngsters on loan, with several ending up at the GelreDome for over the last couple of years. There have been success stories from such temporary switches too, with Lukas Piazon now earning regular football on loan in the Bundesliga after a successful spell in the Netherlands last year.

Currently, the Eredivisie side are hosting Brazilian fullback Wallace, as well as another Chelsea youngster who has long been deemed the next homegrown star, Josh McEachran. However, Vitesse are currently struggling in mid table, and Chelsea may be eager to see Chalobah get regular time at a Championship club vying for the title. This could see the player return to former Jose Mourinho aide Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough, currently in 4th position and just a few points off top spot.

Wherever Chalobah ends up for the second half of this season, 2015 has to be a big year, because with the midfield options the Blues have in the first team, only the very best are going to get anywhere near that starting eleven.

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