Pochettino wary of damaging Chelsea raid as Real Madrid eye crucial Blues man to replace stalwart

Ben Chilwell and Reece James of Chelsea

Ben Chilwell and Reece James pictured before Chelsea game

Chelsea could receive an offer for club captain Reece James next year as Real Madrid have identified the Englishman as an ideal replacement for Dani Carvajal, according to a report.

James came through the Chelsea academy before making his first-team debut in September 2019. Overall, the right wing-back has played 148 games for Chelsea, notching 11 goals and 20 assists for the club.

James has established himself as a vital player for Chelsea. Alongside left wing-back Ben Chilwell, he provides the majority of Chelsea’s width and is often relied upon to get crosses into the box for the strikers to finish off.

After the departure of Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer, James was named as Chelsea’s new skipper, which shows how important he is for the club.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, he has once again missed several matches for Chelsea after sustaining a hamstring problem. Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful the wide man will be fit enough to make his return later this month.

James’ injury is not the only thing Chelsea need to worry about, as reports in Spain claim that Madrid are interested in him.

According to AS journalist Agustin Martin, the Spanish titans are on the lookout for a new right-back who can replace Carvajal, who is now 31 years old and heading towards the end of his time at elite level. And James is high up in Madrid’s thinking as a potential successor.

James could therefore become the second Chelsea player to leave Pochettino’s project for Los Blancos. In the summer, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga moved to the Spanish capital on loan as a replacement for the injured Thibaut Courtois, who is recovering from an ACL injury.

Reece James could follow Kepa to Real Madrid

According to the latest from Spanish source Sport, Chelsea are willing to sell Arrizabalaga to Madrid for £21.5m next year, though Carlo Ancelotti’s side will only bid as high as £15.4m.

It will take a lot more money if Madrid want to snare James away from Stamford Bridge. The Blues have managed to tie him down to a contract until June 2028, which means they are under no pressure to sell.

Plus, the fact that James is a guaranteed starter (when fit) who is also Chelsea’s leader and an academy graduate means Chelsea will want a colossal sum before signing off on his exit. transfermarkt value the 16-cap international at £56m, but Chelsea would want far more than that sum.

Chelsea will be particularly keen to keep hold of James after having lost fellow star Mason Mount this year. The attacking midfielder joined Manchester United on an initial five-year contract after the two clubs agreed a £60m deal.

Meanwhile, Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona look set to miss out on a Brazilian star to Wolves, according to reports.