Premier League • England

Blockbuster Man City transfer ‘completely ruled out’ by Chelsea star as Real Madrid learn their fate

Reece James and Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea

Reece James wants to stay at Chelsea and will not entertain a transfer to either Manchester City or Real Madrid, an update has revealed.

TEAMtalk exclusively revealed earlier this month that Real Madrid are eyeing a move for James as they aim to reinforce their right-back options for the long term, beyond Dani Carvajal’s spell with the club.

Impressed by the impact of England midfielder Jude Bellingham since his summer arrival, Los Blancos are eyeing another British player in the shape of James.

Reports on Monday have verified Real Madrid’s interest and then added Manchester City into contention for James’ transfer, in the context of him being a long-term successor to Kyle Walker.

However, an update by 90min has revealed that a move to the Premier League champions – or any other domestic rival, for that matter – has been ‘completely ruled out’ by the Chelsea captain.

Furthermore, if Real Madrid were to come calling, his inclination would still be to hold off and wait for a transfer abroad much later in his career.

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Instead, for the time being, his priority is to remain with Chelsea and win honours with the club after already being part of their Champions League winning squad in the 2020-21 season.

James is under contract with Chelsea until 2028 and was appointed as their club captain in the summer following the departure of fellow full-back, Cesar Azpilicueta.

Since graduating the Chelsea academy and returning from a loan spell with Wigan Athletic, James has made 153 first-team appearances, scoring 11 goals and adding 21 assists.

This season so far, he has made six appearances either side of a hamstring injury, starting all three of their matches in November so far.

Most recently, he was part of the Chelsea lineup that claimed a 4-4 draw against his admirers, Man City. His assist for Raheem Sterling to make it 2-1 – the only time Chelsea were ahead in the clash – was his first goal contribution since October 2022.

James battling back towards his potential

Physical problems have prevented the defender from making major progress in recent months, but at the age of 23, time is still on his side to reach his full potential.

Capped 16 times by England at international level, James is classed as one of the best players in the Premier League in his position when at full strength.

As Man City look to continue their hegemony over the top flight, it is easy to see why they – and a club as illustrious as Real Madrid in La Liga – might be interested in the Cobham product.

For the time being, though – and even while Chelsea are out of European football altogether following last season’s bottom-half finish – he appears to be out of reach for all of his admirers.

His stance will be a relief to Chelsea, especially after they installed him as their captain back in August. It seems that in addition to his technical ability, he has the kind of commitment that would be expected in a leader.

Several players have switched between Chelsea and Man City in recent years. This summer alone, Cole Palmer went to Chelsea from City, while Mateo Kovacic moved in the opposite direction.

But James does not seem destined to follow in Kovacic’s footsteps and has plenty of years ahead of him at Chelsea, where he competes with Malo Gusto for a right-back berth.

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