Manchester City are keen to pursue a deal for Chelsea and England full-back Reece James this summer.
The Blues academy graduate has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence over the past couple of seasons. Having spent the 2018/19 campaign out on loan at Championship side Wigan, James has now cemented his place in Chelsea’s first team and is a regular in the England squad.
He made 47 appearances in all competitions last season for Chelsea and played the full 90 minutes as Thomas Tuchel’s side triumphed over City in the Champions League final.
The 21-year-old played a key role in that victory in Porto, stifling the threat of Raheem Sterling as Chelsea secured a 1-0 win, but that performance may have come at a cost – as The Athletic report that his talents have caught the eye of Pep Guardiola.
City already boast two international right-backs in Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, but James’ ability to step into midfield when called upon – as the aforementioned Portuguese full-back has done on occasions – has impressed Guardiola.
You’d be forgiven for assuming there would be no chance of Chelsea entertaining offers for their talented young star, but their interest in Inter’s Achraf Hakimi suggests Tuchel may not view James as the club’s long-term right-back – that, or he recognises Cesar Azpilicueta is more suited to a central role at this stage of his career.
The Blues are currently locked in a battle with Paris Saint-Germain for the Moroccan’s signature, yet it’s a battle they seem to be losing to the Ligue 1 giants, currently managed by former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. As it stands, he is likely to move to the French capital in a €70m (£60m) deal.
With Chelsea’s pursuit of Hakimi likely to be unsuccessful, it’s highly probable that James would remain the club’s first-choice right-back. However, there is the possibility that the mooted interest in Hakimi could have unsettled James – though the current speculation does not appear to have substantiated from any kind of unhappiness.