Chelsea’s breakout star of pre-season faces anxious wait over Blues future amid competition

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A moment early in the second half of Chelsea’s 2-2 pre-season draw with Tottenham Hotspur in midweek summed up the performance of one of the breakout stars from the Blues’ summer campaign.

Lucas Moura’s low cross was spilled by Edoaurd Mendy in the box and the ball trickled it’s way in the direction of Son Heung-min. The South Korean star must have thought he was going to find the back of the net.

Only he saw his effort blocked before it could get anywhere near the goal by a backtracking Trevoh Chalobah, which earned a huge roar from the Stamford Bridge faithful who were back in their droves for the first time in what felt like an eternity.

It was the nadir of Chalobah’s pre-season as the academy graduate, who has become entrenched in Chelsea’s loan cycle since 2018, taking in spells at Ipswich Town, Huddersfield Town and most recently, Lorient.

The younger brother of another Blues academy graduate in Nathaniel, Trevoh has been with Chelsea since the under-9 age group.

In 2015/16, Chalobah featured in every game as the Blues secured another FA Youth Cup final success and he also was a regular in the under-19s team that retained the UEFA Youth League title.

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. Despite Ipswich getting relegated in 2018, Chalobah impressed as he made 44 appearances and scored twice.

From then he moved north to Huddersfield Town and once again impressed during 37 appearances for the Terriers.

Both loan spells were somewhat hampered by both clubs deciding to change their manager during the season while Chalobah remained a regular. His spell at Huddersfield was also halted by the Covid-19 pandemic as football ground to a halt last year.

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It was during his time with The Terriers, having also signed a contract extension at Chelsea, that the then 20-year-old outlined his ambitions exclusively to : “It was good to get a new deal and get rewarded for what I had done well last year.

“I think after this two years experience that I have had in the Championship, everyone knows that the Championship is a really good league and it is just one step away (from the Premier League).

“It is my dream to play in the Premier League. So I want to finish off the season as strong as possible and see what happens.”

With the staggered process of players returning for pre-season training at Stamford Bridge this summer off the back of the delayed EURO 2020 tournament, there was always going to be the chance that someone from the ranks would force their way into the reckoning.

Armando Broja started the summer with goals against Peterborough and Bournemouth, fresh off the back of signing a five-year contract extension at the club as he bucked the trend of some of his fellow youngsters in deciding to move away from Cobham.

Dujon Sterling turned in some impressive performances too, while Jake Clarke-Salter also earned some minutes in the Blues defence. But it was Chalobah who was the one impressing.

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Therefore, the defender might be somewhat disappointed to have missed out on the Blues squad for the trip to Belfast in midweek to take on Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, Davide Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko were also not included.

Perhaps we could have seen this coming when Tuchel was asked about Chalobah following his impressive display against Spurs in midweek.

The Chelsea head coach said: “We know him from Lorient and Chalo has done very well in pre-season. We wanted to continue in the back three, so there was space in the back until [Kurt] Zouma and Toni [Rudiger] arrived. Then there was one space left but then Andreas Christensen, Reece [James] and Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] are back then there is a huge competition for him.

“He’s done very well in both games and within his potential and limits that was nice to see. He played a good match, I agree.”

Competition is fierce indeed in SW6, especially in central defence with the form shown by Tuchel’s backline in the second half of last season en route to a fourth-place finish and Champions League glory.

Chalobah can’t have done much more than what he has done this summer to force his way into the reckoning at Stamford Bridge. Tuchel will now have to make the decision on his future.

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Source by Football London

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