Nottingham Forest have signed Nathaniel Chalobah on loan from Chelsea until 15 January, beating the likes of Watford and Wigan to his signature.

Following the departure of Adlene Guedioura on deadline day, the Reds have missed the presence of a natural holding midfielder and Chalobah is equally comfortable in central defence or midfield.

The 18-year-old emerged as one of the country’s most promising players last season making 42 appearances during a loan spell at Watford which saw the Hornets finish third, losing out to Crystal Palace in the play-off final.

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola said in February: “Nathaniel can be very offensive as well but we are trying to give him the structure of more of a holding midfielder who organises the play from the back.

“Certainly the talent is there. He needs to work a lot to play at the level Chelsea are at, and as a more defensive midfielder you need to be good with the ball and without the ball; and without the ball I expect him to keep improving.”

While Jose Mourinho said in July: “He is a very, very good player. I like him very much and am very impressed. For sure, he is a Chelsea player… he would have to play every weekend for the last year of his loan period. He could be in our squad already but we think one more season will help and then he will come back for 2014-15. It will be his last one out on loan. He is very, very good.”

The Sierra Leone-born player was captain of the Chelsea side that won the 2012 FA Youth Cup and ended the season as part of the first team squad that flew to Munich for the Champions League Final.

Having made his England Under-17 debut aged 14, he became a European champion at that international level in the summer of 2010 and later captained the Under-19s and played for the Under-21s in the European Championships in Israel in June.

A product of the Chelsea Academy, Chalobah signed a new five-year deal last month, believed to be worth in excess of £35,000 a week.

In February he was named England Men’s Youth Player of the Year at an FA awards ceremony and he was awarded the Football League’s Young Player of the Month for April.

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