This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Brom are close to sealing Chelsea midfielder Trevoh Chalobah as their second signing of the summer, according to the Express and Star.
New manager Valerien Ismael has already recruited 26-year-old Alex Mowatt with the duo spending last season together at Barnsley.
But with three central midfielders including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Conor Gallagher and Okay Yokuslu returning to Arsenal, Chelsea and Celta Vigo on the expiration of their loan spells, the Frenchman’s focus on the central midfielder area hasn’t stopped there.
The higher or lower West Brom transfer fee quiz – can you get 20/20?
The club have also been linked with Yokuslu and Matty Longstaff recently, but Chalobah looks set to be the man to arrive at The Hawthorns first and he joins a recently relegated side looking to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
According to the Express and Star exclusive, the Baggies may acquire the 22-year-old for free because he’s unlikely to be involved with the Blues’ first team in the future.
With this deal set to be tied up, how do our FLW reporters feel about this potential signing? Is he a good signing? A much-needed acquisition?
Three members of our team have their say on the subject.
Chalobah is a good signing for the Baggies in terms of what he can bring to the table on the pitch but it’s a bit of a no-brainer as well on a financial level.
It was reported that it’s unlikely that Chelsea will demand a fee for the 22-year-old, meaning that West Brom are picking up a player on the cheap who already has EFL experience but also who was a regular last season in the top flight of French football.
Chalobah probably wasn’t one of Ipswich or Huddersfield’s leading players in the seasons that he played for them but he’s clearly developed quite a bit to be a regular at Lorient and now he can bring that experience back to the Championship.
On the pitch, Chalobah provides versatility as he’s equally competent in the centre of midfield but also at centre-back – he played more in defence last season than the engine room – and that will probably be a key factor as to why Valerien Ismael is bringing him in.
With the Frenchman favouring a back three at Barnsley, Chalobah could easily slot alongside Semi Ajayi and Kyle Bartley, although there will be competition from Dara O’Shea for that spot you’d imagine.
In the midfield he’d be competing with Alex Mowatt, Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore and it’ll be tough to get in ahead of any of them, so you’d imagine his future lies at centre-back.
This is a signing that makes sense really for West Brom to make this summer with Trevoh Chalobah a player that is still developing but who has also gained a lot of valuable first-team experience in both the Championship and in Ligue 1 over the last two campaigns.
Chalobah is not going to ever force his way into the first-team at Chelsea now you would not think, but he has shown during his loan spells that he can offer the ability to perform effectively as either a defender or in midfield.
That versatility would make him well-suited to Valerien Ismael’s side and mean that he could provide cover and competition in the squad in a few areas.
The 22-year-old would also be someone that has energy and legs to add to the midfield area, if Ismael elected to use him in that area of the field. That has been something that their options have lacked over recent seasons before the addition of Alex Mowatt to the squad.
Having players that can get up and down the pitch is vital for Ismael in his style of play and Chalobah seems to fit in well with the profile of player that the 45-year-old worked with at Barnsley in being young and full energy.
This might not seem like the most exciting transfer but it could turn out to be a smart one.
You can see the logic here.
Chalobah is set to be available on a free transfer and West Brom need to bolster their central midfield options, so it looks like a good deal all round for me.
The Chelsea man is still only 22 and has so much room to grow, develop and mature as a footballer and he has certain qualities that you’d imagine Valerien Ismael will appreciate.
He’s energetic, versatile and has positive qualities in both a defensive and offensive sense, making him a good player to have in and around the squad.
He’s coming off the back of an impressive stint in France with FC Lorient, whilst he also has bags of experience within the EFL having had stints at Ipswich Town and Huddersfield.
With Mowatt arriving, Chalobah can provide competition for a starting berth with Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers among those also in the mix to start in Ismael’s midfield.
He strikes me as someone who will be able to adapt to Ismael’s high-press, high-intensity style of play also.