Chelsea could lose Reece James to Real Madrid – with his replacement already signed: report

Chelsea star Reece James celebrates after scoring their sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Chelsea FC and AC Milan at Stamford Bridge on October 05, 2022 in London, England.
(Image credit: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea star Reece James is being eyed by Real Madrid, with Los Blancos looking for a new right-back.

The Cobham academy graduate has faced a tough season at Stamford Bridge with injury setbacks, missing the World Cup when he was sidelined in autumn. Under Thomas Tuchel, however, he established himself as one of the best right-backs in Europe both going forward and defending. 

James signed a new six-year deal at Chelsea last September but with the club in a very different position from when he signed that deal – facing the prospect of missing out on Champions League football and looking at a rebuild this summer – it is possible that James may welcome a new challenge.

Chelsea's prospective US owner Todd Boehly comes onto the pitch to join the lap of honour after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London

Todd Boehly has led a revolution in west London (Image credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Now, Real Madrid have put the 23-year-old at the top of their shopping list to improve on the likes of Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez in that position, according to AS.

The report claims that James was the first-choice target as long ago as last summer. Other names, however, may be a little more realistic. 

James would likely break the world record for a full-back sale – which currently stands at the £60 million that Chelsea themselves paid for Marc Cucurella. Real might receive encouragement, however, from the fact that the Blues have already signed Lyon defender Malo Gusto as a ready-made replacement for James, should the England international leave for La Liga.

Other players on the shortlist for the position include Joao Cancelo – on loan at Bayern Munich from Manchester City – along with current Villarreal and former Tottenham stopper, Juan Foyth. 

Joao Cancelo of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their 1st goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton FC at Etihad Stadium on October 8, 2022 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Joao Cancelo would be considerably cheaper to buy than Reece James (Image credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Chelsea will not feel pressured to sell, while the player is unlikely to push for a move so soon after signing a contract. With Real Madrid in the market for £100m-rated Jude Bellingham, however, they may well choose to turn attention to James if they fail to capture the Borussia Dortmund teen.

James is valued at €70m by Transfermarkt

More Chelsea stories

Graham Potter says he won't quit the Blues, despite poor form.

Chelsea are struggling with statistics showing recently that they're the worst scorers in the top four divisions of England. Transfer rumours are linking them with moves for former stars Tammy Abraham and Romelu LukakuMarc Cucurella could be sold after just one season, while contract rebel Mason Mount and N'Golo Kante are targets for Liverpool

Chelsea have also apparently offered a swap deal to bring Joao Felix to the Bridge permanently

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.