Pochettino eager to keep Chelsea favourite on board but ‘ridiculous’ Real offer tipped to turn heads

Reece James and Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea

Chelsea are desperate to hold on to Real Madrid target Reece James and would only sell if a club offered silly money for the defender.

The 23-year-old has been with the Blues his entire professional career. He came up through the youth ranks before making his senior debut in September 2019. That came after the Redbridge-born star spent the 2018-2019 campaign on loan at Wigan Athletic.

He impressed in the Championship, enjoying 46 outings in all competitions and scoring three goals.

And the youngster was then handed 37 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea during his maiden Stamford Bridge season.

Injuries have thwarted his progress over the past few years but, when fit, he is a certain starter.

The right-back started 25 times among 32 top-flight appearances in 2020-21 and was seen 26 times the following campaign.

His pace and defensive ability marked him out as a superstar and England came calling in 2020.

The Champions League winner has been capped 16 times by Gareth Southgate.

However, he would have had considerably more caps but for injury and Kyle Walker’s continued excellent form.

Unsurprisingly, Real have had their eyes on the full-back. Los Blancos are looking for a long-term replacement for Dani Carvajal.

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Links to James emerged earlier this year, with both Real and Barcelona said to be interested.

It was thought they might try to pounce in the summer before transfer guru Fabrizio Romano ended speculation.

The Italian journalist reported that Chelsea would reject any approach for their prized asset.

Real maintain interest in James

James has played just 76 minutes of football in 2023-24 and has not been seen since the opening day of the season.

He is one of a number of injury problems that Mauricio Pochettino is currently dealing with.

The Argentinian tactician gave an update on his fitness earlier this week, suggesting he could be back before the next international break.

Real will continue to monitor James’ progress, with links to the star still in the media.

Chelsea do not want to sell and handed him the captaincy during the summer.

He inked a fresh deal until 2028 last year and is a player that Pochettino admires greatly.

However, Football Insider are reporting that Chelsea would accept a ‘ridiculous’ offer for the defensive star.

There is no mention of the numbers involved but the capital outfit will drive a hard bargain.

They have spent vast sums on new faces since Todd Boehly arrived. And, despite jettisoning many players during the off-season, they will need to keep balancing the books.

James would command a substantial fee but there seems little enthusiasm for letting him leave.

He is a firm fans favourite despite a myriad of injury problems. The lure of playing for Real is tempting for most players.

But James seems happy at the Bridge and still has plenty to prove having spent so much time on the treatment table.

He is under contract for five more years, leaving the west Londoners holding all the aces regarding his future.

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