Burnley have confirmed that midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah has returned to Chelsea following his loan spell at Turf Moor.
The highly-rated 20-year-old was sent to newly-promoted Burnley in the hope of playing regular first-team football; however, he played just 69 minutes in the league under Sean Dyche during the first half of the season.
Chalobah has not featured for the Clarets since the team’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on November 1 - so the fact Burnley have opted against extending his loan deal comes as no major surprise.
Chalobah set for another loan move?
The England Under-21 international has impressed during loan spells in the Championship with Watford, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough - but it seems he is still not ready to hold down a regular first-team place for a Premier League side.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is unlikely to use Chalobah in the second half of the campaign, so a loan move elsewhere until the end of the season is a distinct possibility.
Plenty of Championship clubs will be keen to take the Sierra Leone-born central midfielder on a temporary basis, while one or two Premier League teams may also consider the idea of giving the youngster a second chance to prove his worth in England’s top flight before the season finishes.
Burnley have a settled side and manager Dyche is reluctant to alter too much with his starting line-up. The Lancashire outfit currently find themselves 19th in the Premier League table, but have shown enough in recent weeks to suggest they stand a fighting chance of hauling themselves out of the bottom three come May.
Chalobah, however, will no longer play any part in that journey - although he will be relieved this his frustrating spell away from Stamford Bridge has come to an end.
Widely regarded as one of the most talented young stars at Chelsea, Chalobah still has a bright future ahead of him but must be playing week-in, week-out somewhere at this crucial stage in his career.
Only then will he be handed the chance to showcase his quality and prove to Mourinho that he has a role to play in Chelsea’s long-term plans.