Trevoh Chalobah: The Next Star From Chelsea’s Academy

Trevoh Chalobah
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It’s been an extraordinary year for Chelsea. From floundering under club legend Frank Lampard to winning the Champions League under his successor Thomas Tuchel, they have scripted an unbelievable run. Now comes the real test, however. Tuchel and Chelsea must prove their second Champions League title in nine years was not just a ‘new manager bounce’.

Trevoh Chalobah is Chelsea’s New Academy Star

Academy Summer Sales

This summer, Chelsea have sold a number of academy prospects. Under Frank Lampard, youngsters saw a pathway to the first team. Lampard handed debuts to six academy graduates – Mason Mount, Reece James, Billy Gilmour, Tino Anjorin, Tariq Lamptey and Armando Broja. He also integrated loanees Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori into the squad.

Whatever guarantee Lampard may have provided seemed to evaporate with Tuchel’s appointment. The German had the unenviable task of reviving an underperforming side and getting the best out of summer signings Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech. Tuchel instilled a 3-4-2-1 formation and took a shine to Callum Hudson-Odoi, but no new debuts were handed, simply because there was no chance. Tuchel hardly had time to integrate youngsters. He did a great job in taking the club to European victory, of course.

This summer, the feeling that Chelsea were returning to the pre-Lampard era seemed to solidify. Centre-backs Marc Guehi and Dynel Simeu left the club, as did full-back Valentino Livramento and midfielder Lewis Bate. None of them saw a clear pathway and decided to move away. Guehi spent the last year and a half on loan at Swansea City and looked ready for his breakthrough. Livramento and Bate, meanwhile, are among the best of Chelsea’s current academy class.

Chalobah Provides Hope

With Chelsea, always expect the unexpected. Before pre-season began, the likes of Guehi and current Huddersfield Town loanee Levi Colwill were tipped for possible breakthroughs. There was also hope for the likes of Ethan Ampadu and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Trevoh Chalobah, however, wasn’t considered as one of those. The versatile player, who can play both as a centre-back and a midfielder, is the younger brother of current Watford player Nathaniel Chalobah, who won the Premier League with boyhood club Chelsea in 2016/17.

Trevoh Chalobah spent time on loan at Ipswich Town, Huddersfield and Lorient. This summer, Chelsea were missing a number of defenders due to involvement in Euro 2020 and Copa America. This meant a chance for the likes of Malang Sarr, Dujon Sterling and Chalobah. The latter played extensively throughout pre-season and impressed Tuchel. At one point during the summer, there was talk of Chelsea letting him go for free. West Bromwich Albion were even linked with a transfer. That changed with his pre-season performances, however. Tuchel now wanted to keep him at the club, even if he would have to go out on loan. Valencia were linked with a loan move for him.

Impressive Debuts

With many of Chelsea’s first-choice defenders still not match-fit, Chalobah was rewarded with a start in the UEFA Super Cup. He produced a classy performance, hardly putting a foot wrong. He made multiple crucial interceptions and was strong in the face of Villarreal pressure. Gerard Moreno won the official Man of the Match award, but Chelsea fans were quick to anoint him as the star of the game.

He played the entire 120 minutes in Belfast and got his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace. He looked assured, and his passing was excellent. Even under pressure, he found his man and made important interventions when needed. Indeed, Chalobah excelled even as Guehi struggled at the other end. The icing on the cake was his goal. With Chelsea 2-0 up, he received a pass from Kovacic and lined up a shot. As fans urged him to shoot, he blasted a ferocious strike past Vicente Guaita. He got down on his knees and cried as he realised a life-long dream.

He’s given Tuchel food for thought now; he’s un-sellable now; and it looks very likely that he’ll stay at Chelsea this season. Chalobah has forced his way into the squad, and while others have left, he has quietly worked hard and reaped the rewards. Jules Kounde may still arrive, of course, and Kurt Zouma may leave. Chalobah, however, might just keep his place. With the culmination of hard work and determination, he has made it at his boyhood club.

Whatever happens, he will always have this day, when he scored his first Premier League goal for the club he joined as an eight-year-old, in front of a full stadium.


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