Chelsea have sent promising youngster Nathaniel Chalobah on loan to Middlesbrough until the end of the season.
The club confirmed the news via their official Twitter account:
Chalobah, 19, can play in midfield or central defence and will return to the Championship having previously spent time on loan at Watford last season, and Nottingham Forest for the first half of this campaign.
And he enjoyed his time at the City Ground, where he helped Forest establish themselves as contenders for promotion to the Premier League:
Learnt lots at @Official_NFFC that will make me a better player. Best of luck for the rest of the season!— Nathaniel Chalobah (@chalobah) January 15, 2014
Upon signing a new five-year contract with Chelsea at the beginning of the season, Chalobah declared that he wanted to spend the rest of his career with the club, per their official website.
However, he is yet to make his full debut for the Blues and it remains unclear whether he will be given a chance or be forced to continue looking elsewhere for opportunities.
The signing of Nemanja Matic from Benfica, per BBC Sport, adds another senior player to Chelsea's midfielder, while Jose Mourinho's interest in signing defender Kurt Zouma, as reported by Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, hints that there will be fierce competition for places in the Blues' squad for the foreseeable future.
As an England Under-21 international, and having handled the physical and competitive rigours of the Championship as a teenager, it is obvious that Chalobah possesses the attributes to become a Premier League player.
But he may have to permanently leave Chelsea, or at least prove himself on loan at a top-flight side in order to do that.