Chelsea opinion: Chelsea should hold onto Reece James
According to a report in the Daily Express, Chelsea youngster Reece James has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge and Crystal Palace are the side sniffing for his signature.
The 19-year-old was out on loan for Championship side Wigan Athletic and was absolutely outstanding and playing well beyond his years. Unfortunately, they did get relegated but James came out of the season looking like a player ready to make that step up to the Premier League.
He played as a right-back in most of his games but is just as capable of playing in centre-back or any midfield position, based on his abilities. James is a supremely gifted footballer at such a young age. He has great technique, often taking free-kicks and putting in some fantastic crosses with little to no back lift.
He’s at a point in his career where he can’t afford to sit on the bench because his ceiling is very high and he’ll only get better with more game time.
He is also very strong and athletic and is ready for the physical challenges that he will have to face in the Premier League. He’s also shown himself to be a real leader and is unlike most 19-year-old footballers.
Palace will be going into this window thinking he’s the perfect player to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is another outstanding young English right-back who moved to Manchester United earlier in the window.
Frank Lampard has indicated that he’s looking to use the academy graduates in a more prominent role. The Chelsea academy have been extremely successful in the last couple of years with domestic and European titles at the youth level.
It’s long been an issue at the club, which was only recently addressed with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi finally getting a chance. The club in the past have lost talented young players and don’t want to be committing the same mistakes now.
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This has almost been forced by the transfer ban but it had to take place eventually. Cesar Azpiliqueta wasn’t his usual best at right-back last season after many years as a third centre-back and James does have the potential to become a better full-back.
Chelsea need to make certain that they don’t make the same mistakes and make certain that they hold onto James, who is the future of the club. There are many competitions to play for and squad depth is important.