Manchester City have expressed shock interest in the services of Chelsea’s Reece James, with Pep Guardiola rating the player highly.

According to an exclusive report from The Athletic, Manchester City are keen on snapping up Reece James from Chelsea this summer. The defender is held in high regards by head coach Pep Guardiola, who is once again on the hunt for defensive reinforcements after a somewhat successful 2020/21 campaign despite the Champions League defeat.

James has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence after his successful loan spell at Wigan Athletic during the 2018/19 campaign. He came back to Stamford Bridge, enjoying his breakthrough in the English top-flight, making 24 Premier League appearances.

The youngster became an even more integral part of the Chelsea backline this past season, featuring in as many as 32 league games. His ability to play as a right-back, a right-sided centre-back of a back three, and a right wing-back made him an appealing option for current coach Thomas Tuchel.

However, the German tactician has shown a desire to sign a more established right-back who can provide more quality going forward. Achraf Hakimi was one of the top targets in the summer, but the Inter Milan wing-back is reportedly on the verge of a switch to Paris Saint-Germain.

Reece James is expected to be fit after limping off the pitch against Newcastle (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Reece James’s Chelsea future appears to be in doubt. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Chelsea, nevertheless, are still scouring the market for options and have recently been linked with a move for Italian international Giovanni Di Lorenzo, while there have been speculations about a move for Denzel Dumfries as well. The potential addition of either of these players might not bode well for James, thus raising the possibility of a transfer away from Stamford Bridge – making Manchester City an interesting destination.

The newly crowned Premier League champions are not short of quality right-backs and centre-backs in their ranks, with Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias all regarded as top-class defenders.

However, it appears Guardiola is looking for a right-back that can provide more than Walker going forward, which might allow him to shift Cancelo on the opposite flank where Man City truly lack quality. James is an ideal option as he gets forward well and is capable of whipping in crosses into the box.

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The Englishman is quite versatile as well, making him a potential for either of the centre-backs in Dias and Stones. And with Aymeric Laporte being linked with a return to Spain, James could indeed be a smart option for the Citizens this summer.

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