Nathaniel Chalobah is reportedly set to be offered a new contract at Chelsea, with the club looking to reward the young midfielder for his progress this season under Antonio Conte.
The England Under-21 international has been at the club since 2005, but only made his first-team debut under Conte this season. So far, he has made 13 appearances in a campaign that could have been a make or break one for him.
After being sent out on loan over the course of the previous five years, Chalobah started this season with under two years left on his contract and no senior appearances for the club. Despite his inexperience, Conte kept him on and since then Chalobah has enjoyed some valuable game time under the Italian.
In a successful season so far under Conte, Chelsea fans have a lot to be happy and excited about. The team have a ten-point lead in the league, as Conte’s side look set to stroll towards a fifth Premier League title and a possible appearance at Wembley if they can get past Manchester United on Monday.
Along with securing success on the pitch, Conte has ensured that some of the club’s young talents have been getting game time where possible. The likes of Ola Aina, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah have found plenty of valuable minutes in the cup competitions and sometimes in the league too.
In looking to continue that success in the future, giving Chalobah a contract extension is a step in the right direction. With young English talent becoming more valuable than ever, the club can ill-afford to lose a player with so much promise.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard on the subject, former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard said: “It is very important for Chelsea that Antonio Conte brings young players through.”
“It is a nice situation, you are top of the league and some games you are winning comfortably, you can give some players time, but at the same time it doesn’t have to be the case. He could concentrate on the moment.”
“People talk about a manager’s lifespan being two years, so why should you worry about 18-year-olds? But from seeing Conte bringing young players in, incorporating them into the training squad, showing faith in them… I know the work that is being done in the academy and they deserve that.”
Like Lampard, many Chelsea fans have hoped in recent years to see the club, and managers in charge, utilise the talented young players available. And unlike José Mourinho before him, Conte seems more eager to give opportunities to such players.
On Monday Chelsea face Manchester United and Mourinho in their FA Cup quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge. After playing in all of the previous FA Cup matches this season, Chalobah could be expected to be in the starting XI, in a game that would be a huge test for him.