Is Nathaniel Chalobah the answer to Burnley's relegation struggle?

Burnley FC press room

The Chelsea youngster looks set to join the Clarets this summer, although is he good enough to help their fight for Premier League survival?

The England Under-21 international broke onto the scene during an imperious loan spell with Watford, where he was a key part of the stylish midfield that reached the Championship Play-Off Final.

Calls for inclusion into the Blues first-team went unheard, and two further Championship spells followed throughout the 2013/14 season. Whilst playing time was a regular occurrence at both Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough, the 19-year old failed to set the league alight, and he returned to Chelsea in the same situation he left - no closer to the first-team set up.

Rumours of a loan move to Burnley have been the talk this summer, and a Premier League loan move would do wonders for Chalobah's reputation, as long as he could live up to the expectations surrounding him.

Entering the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign, Burnley are favourites for immediate relegation back to the second division. Despite Sean Dyche leading the unfancied side to a second place finish, conceding a league low of 37 goals in the process, many cannot see how the Clarets will be able to survive a long season of Premier League football.

They frequently allowed the opposition to control games, with a seasonal average of 49% possession, and completed just 70% of their passes - 19th in the division. They played the third highest number of long balls in the division - 81 - and thanks to the goalscoring exploits of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, they converted many of the 13 chances per game they found.

In all aspects of the game, Dyche has his team stylised as a formidable defensive unit, creating chances through long balls and crosses - full-back Kieran Trippier notched up 14 assists, a league high - making them something of a 'classic' English side.

Whilst this system would make Chalobah next to useless, due to his prefence for ball-playing and his insouciant approach to the game, there are fears that Dyche will have to change his approach to survive in the top flight - and bringing in a technical midfielder may be the key to that change.

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Chalobah was deployed deep in a midfield three at Watford, and, with an energetic runner next to him to reduce the workload, he was tasked with picking the ball up from deep and starting the attacking phase of play. He showed an incredibly maturity on the ball, and, with his ability to slow down play to his own tempo, he became a key player at the age of 18 - despite his teammates being full internationals.

With the pace and efficiency of Burnley's play, signing Chalobah may be seen as a sign of intent that Dyche is going to change his team, because, in the current system, he would be nothing more than a luxury player, with play passing him by - both in direction and speed. However, if the system does change, there would be few more talented players than the youngster easily available. It is clear that the Blues want him to gain significant first-team experience in the Premier League, and a switch to Turf Moor may be the catalyst that kick-starts his Premier League career.

Would Nathaniel Chalobah be a star at Burnley?

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