Chelsea are reportedly hesitating in offering a new contract to Reece James, which could provide encouragement to Real Madrid and Manchester to make a move.

According to the Daily Mail, Real Madrid and Manchester City have received a boost in their pursuit of Chelsea defender Reece James, as the defender could consider leaving the club amidst the Blues hesitating on offering him a new deal.

James came through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and got his first-team breakthrough in 2019, after a fine spell away on loan at Wigan Athletic. It did not take the Englishman to establish himself as a mainstay on the right side of the Chelsea defence, with the 22-year-old now regarded as one of the finest right-backs in Europe.

James has racked up 123 appearances for Chelsea, registering nine goals and 18 assists, winning the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. He is also a regular fixture in the England national team squad and has featured ten times for the Three Lions thus far.

James’ rise in stature has seen him attract interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City. And now, the suitors may have been given a boost in their pursuit of the 22-year-old full-back, as Chelsea are yet to begin contract negotiations with their academy product.

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James still has three years left on his contract with Chelsea, but the defender earns only £70,000 per week despite having developed into one of the mainstays in the side. The Blues, though, have not shown any indication of wanting to open contract talks with the Englishman to reward him for his performances due to the time left on his deal.

There had been no moves made by the previous administration before the club was sanctioned by the UK Government. Chelsea’s new owners are also yet to decide whether James’ contract situation needs to be treated as a priority. The report states that it could lead to the player feeling undervalued by Chelsea, especially with Real Madrid and Manchester City lurking to swoop.

Real Madrid are interested in signing a long-term replacement for Dani Carvajal and have identified James as a priority target. Even though they signed young right-back Vinicius Tobias recently, they would likely seek a more accomplished player who could cover for Carvajal before taking over from him in the near future, making the Chelsea defender a viable option.

Manchester City, meanwhile, see James as the ideal replacement for mainstay Kyle Walker, who recently turned 32 years old and will be entering the final year of his contract in 2023.

Chelsea’s hesitation to open talks with James, coupled with their links to Paris Saint-Germain star Achraf Hakimi, has now offered hopes to both Real Madrid and Manchester City that they stand a chance of signing the 22-year-old. Whether there is any movement on this front or if Chelsea decide to hand him a new deal remains to be seen.

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