Crystal Palace have been rebuffed in their attempts to sign Reece James of Chelsea, who have reportedly rejected a £20 million bid for the defender.
According to Daily Star, Chelsea have rejected a £20 million offer from Crystal Palace over the sale of Reece James. The defensive prodigy has drawn the attention of the Premier League club following a remarkable season in the Championship last season.
Palace are believed to be keen on signing a new right-back following the departure of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The 21-year-old joined Manchester United for a reported fee of £50 million earlier this summer, which has created a huge void in the backline. In fact, Joel Ward is currently the only reliable option for the Eagles in the right-back slot, thus accentuating the need for a new fullback this summer.
James, in that regard, could have been an ideal candidate. As mentioned earlier, the young defender enjoyed a productive campaign with Wigan Athletic last season in the Championship, making 45 league appearances. He was an ever-present figure in the Wigan backline and was involved in six goals, helping the Latics stay out of relegation scrap.
The 19-year-old right-back is labelled as an excellent all-round fullback, who can not only provide extensive offensive support from the flanks but is also aware of his defensive chores. Besides, he is also known for his athleticism, which would have made him a tailor-made fit under the one-dimensional tactical philosophy of Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson.
However, Chelsea, it seems, are adamant in keeping hold of their defensive prodigy as they look to cope with a nasty transfer ban that has restricted them from signing any players until next summer. The Blues are already doing an excellent job of retaining the services of Callum Hudson-Odoi while returning loanee Tammy Abraham is also expected to play a key role in the first-team next season.
And James, too, could hope for an improved role in the Chelsea first-team, especially considering how newly-appointed manager Frank Lampard has instilled a positive mentality among the young players.
The West London giants currently have two viable options in the right-back department in the shape of Cesar Azpilicueta and Davide Zappacosta. The former is a guaranteed starter, but Lampard could be tempted to give James the opportunity to become the second choice right-back, over Zappacosta.
The 19-year-old has time on his side, and with the right leadership, he could flourish in the Premier League, largely thanks to his athleticism and incredible work-ethic on both ends of the pitch. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how this youngster develops at Stamford Bridge in the coming years.