15:44 22nd January 2015
Young Chelsea star at Reading until the end of the season
Reading Football Club are delighted to announce the loan signing of 20-year-old Nathaniel Chalobah, who joins the Royals from Chelsea until the end of the season.
The England under-21 international, comfortable playing either in midfield or as part of the defence, trained with his new teammates for the first time this morning after putting pen to paper on a loan switch from Stamford Bridge.
Nathaniel will take squad number 14 and, after the club fought off interest from other clubs to secure his signature, Chalobah will be eligible to play in this weekend's FA Cup Fourth Round clash at Cardiff City, subject to the normal ratification procedures from the relevant football authorities.
"Nathaniel is a good young player who I have known about and followed for some time," said manager Steve Clarke.
"He burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old when he was part of the Watford team that narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League in 2012-13. Since that season, he has gained experience at other clubs and now feels that Reading is the right club to further his development as a player and we are delighted that he has chosen us ahead of anyone else.
"He will certainly enhance our already strong midfield department with his qualities. We welcome Nathaniel to the club and look forward to him playing his part in a more successful second half to the season."
Chalobah began his career as a schoolboy at Chelsea, a club Royals boss Clarke has excellent connections with of course due to his career as a player, coach and assistant manager at Stamford Bridge.
Nathaniel came through the ranks to captain the Blues' reserve side and lead the under-18s to the FA Youth Cup title in 2012 - scoring in the first leg of the two-legged final against Blackburn Rovers.
The following season was spent under the tutelage of Gianfranco Zola on loan at Watford, where he made 38(+4) appearances and scored five goals in helping the Hornets achieve a third-placed finish and subsequently reach the Championship play-off final.
He spent successful loan spells in this division with Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough last season, before earning Premier League experience on loan at Burnley in the first half of the current campaign.
Internationally, Nathaniel has been a regular for England at all levels of youth football, making his debut for the under-16s back in 2010 before helping the under-17s to European glory in Liechtenstein that same year as part of a solid central defensive pairing formed with Andre Wisdom.
Tall, athletic and comfortable with the ball at his feet, the 6'1" midfielder went on to captain his country at under-19 level and, in February 2013, he was named as England Men's Youth Player of the Year, beating Derby County's Will Hughes and Everton's John Lundstram to the accolade.
Chalobah impressed in England's under-21 European Championships squad out in Israel and he played in an England win over Moldova at Madejski Stadium a matter of months later. In featuring for Gareth Southgate's side in a friendly against France last November, he made his 21st appearance for his country's under-21s team. Nathaniel, who is on Twitter @chalobah, has more than 50 caps at youth international level in total.