The Watford View
Mike off the 'From The Rookery End' podcast
When the Pozzo family took over Watford back in 2012, all the initial talk was about the dismissal of Sean Dyche, the hiring of Gianfranco Zola and of course the sudden influx of exotic sounding players on loan. Watford was all of a sudden home to one of the most cosmopolitan squads outside of the Premier League, but of all the new faces it was a signing from these shores that was among the most influential.
Nathaniel Chalobah signed on loan from Chelsea in August 2012 and his arrival barely registered with most. It's no secret that the Stamford Bridge side have an almost incalculable number of loanees out at various clubs at any one time, and with no prior knowledge about the young Chalobah, eyes were elsewhere and expectations low. By the end of September, the opposite was true.
Despite his tender years (he was 18 at the time) and almost complete lack of first team experience, Chalobah quickly became one of the most important and enjoyable parts of Watford's memorable season. Operating in midfield he oozed class. He looked to have more time than opponents and team-mates alike, controlling the ball seemingly without trying, before picking the perfect pass - playing his team-mate in with easy, languid perfection. He was prone to the occasional mistake, his pocket got picked from time to time and some of his more spectacular balls failed to meet their intended targets, but that was to be forgiven - it was effectively his first taste of first team football.
In the main, he was brilliant. A stylish, elegant, and intelligent footballer, he was a joy to behold and alongside striker Matej Vydra, he was the temporary addition that Watford supporters wanted to see back for another year. Sadly, the £35k a week contract he signed with Chelsea that summer put paid to that. A financial package couldn't be agreed and Chalobah instead found himself at Nottingham Forest under the "management" of Billy Davies.
Having flourished whilst playing for Gianfranco Zola, many Watford supporters questioned how the youngster would fare coping with the prickly approach adopted by Davies. It didn't take long to find out and Chalobah came nowhere near to replicating his Hornets form at the City Ground.
I haven't seen much of him since then, but remain convinced he has a very bright future. Quite how badly the setback of his time at Forest combined with the security of a huge contract has affected him remains to be seen, but whilst you are waiting to find out, it might be worth checking out this video of Chalobah's strike for Watford away at Leicester. We were recording an episode of the "From the Rookery End" podcast as we watched it - I think our reaction says it all.
The Nottingham Forest View
Nick from Forest's SB Nation blog In The Top One
Chalobah's an interesting one, because he might be the most frustrating player I've ever seen at Forest, while also being just objectively really good. He has that way of carrying himself that really good players have - not just a confidence or swagger, but clear time on the ball, the sense that he could land the ball on a Mini Cheddar from 50 yards if he wanted.
However, he was largely terrible in his time here, scoring a few goals but never really doing anything of note, but I don't think it was necessarily laziness or that he just wasn't arsed. It's difficult to tell why it didn't work out, but our team looked better after he left.
Still, if you speak to Watford fans they will probably tell you he was brilliant and should've gone back there, so you're undoubtedly getting a hugely talented player, but whether he'll actually play well for you I don't know.
The Burnley View
No Nay Never on why Chalobah's loan spell this season didn't work out....
Just don't think he fitted in with the high pressure tactic Dyche likes. He's a more relaxed, casual, languid type of player.
But he's got the best pass completion rate of anyone in our squad so he has something about him. Watford fans loved him.