Chelsea youth academy player Reece James is reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United and Red Bull Leipzig.
The Daily Mail report that Premier League outfit Manchester United and Bundesliga’s in-form newcomers Red Bull Leipzig are keen on Chelsea’s 16-year-old English prospect Reece James. The player has trained with the first-team this season and has drawn attention from the European duo.
Reece James has been with Chelsea since the age of six and has graduated through the ranks at the Blues. He started for Chelsea against Oxford United in the EFL Trophy last week at Stamford Bridge. The teenager, who signed academy forms earlier in June, is set to turn 17 in December.
James could be tempted by the interest from Manchester United and Red Bull Leipzig considering Chelsea’s poor track record of providing first-team opportunities to its own academy graduates. A majority of their youth products are sent out on loan and ultimately offloaded to other clubs.
While a move to Manchester United may not be plausible as Chelsea are unlikely to let an academy product as talented as Reece slip away into the hands of a rival, Red Bull Leipzig present an ideal destination for the 16-year-old. The Bundesliga newcomers have taken the league and Europe by storm and currently sit second on the table behind Bayern Munich on goal difference.
— Zesty Chelsea News (@zesty_chelsea) November 15, 2016
The Red Bull owned club has already made a bold statement by beating European elites to the signature of Scottish prodigy Oliver Burke, making the teenager the most expensive player in the nation’s history. And now, after the success of Oliver Burke, they have shifted their focus to another product from the English leagues.
Red Bull’s football guru, Ralf Rangnick, who is also the Sporting Director at RB Leipzig, watched Reece in action during his visit to London in recent weeks.
Reece James seems an exciting prospect and with Antonio Conte’s appointment at the helm, the supporters are hopeful of more involvement of youth graduates. The likes of Ola Aina, Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have made first-team appearances this season and the Stamford Bridge faithful will be hopeful that that number continues to grow.
Chelsea will hope to rectify their poor record of youth promotion, and keeping hold of their most talented players will be key towards achieving that. Manchester United and RB Leipzig will, however, test Reece James’s willingness to stay at his boyhood club.