?Nathaniel Chalobah has revealed he harbours no grudge towards Antonio Conte despite the Italian’s decision to bring in Tiemoue Bakayoko instead of giving him a chance at Chelsea.
The midfielder opted to join Watford this summer after he declined the offer of a new contract to remain with the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
In quotes published by ?football.london, Chalobah was asked why he decided a fresh start with the Hornets was for the best and the 22-year-old admitted that, whilst he understood Conte wanted a more experienced man in the middle of the park, he couldn’t wait around to develop his game with more players ahead of him in the pecking order.
He said: “As obvious as it is, it’s a difficult one at the end of the day. I wouldn’t want to compare myself with him. I don’t know what he’s [Conte] said about me and him.
“Fair play to Bakayoko who he has brought in, he must be a good player – I’m not doubting that.
“The experience thing is obviously the biggest part of any decision really these days for managers and I think if he’s had the experience then fair play. Here’s my chance to come out and get experience.
Nathaniel Chalobah on why he joined Watford: “Chelsea offered a contract but it was a decision I had to make after being on loan six times.” pic.twitter.com/cJYchl9OjR
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) August 8, 2017
“It’s not about proving anyone wrong. It’s about working myself and helping the team out and seeing what I can do.”
Ex-Monaco star Bakayoko rocked up in west London after he completed a £40m transfer from Ligue 1 to the Premier League as Conte eyed midfield reinforcements ahead of a gruelling 2017/18 campaign.
Nathaniel Chalobah had a great potential to be a star @ChelseaFC but it was against our traditions to use home grown talent#ChelseaFC
— Bilal Rana (@Bilal6655) August 8, 2017
The 48-year-old will, however, have to do without Chalobah’s services after he completed his own £5m switch to Hertfordshire.
The Chelsea academy product featured 15 times for the Premier League champions’ first-team during his career, but he also had to endure six loan spells away from his parent club – including one such temporary switch to Watford – as he struggled to break into the team on a regular basis.
Former Chelsea player Ray Wilkins had expressed his surprise at Conte not giving the likes of Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek a chance in his team, but the pair must now contend with learning their trade at Watford and on loan at Crystal Palace respectively.