According to a report in The Daily Mail (I know), Crystal Palace are weighing up a loan bid for Chelsea’s young star Reece James, following the hugely success season he’s enjoyed on the books of Wigan Athletic in the Championship.
Long earmarked as a potential star of the future, James took the plunge and left the relative comfort of the Blues’ Cobham training base for a year down in the second tier with the Latics and simply hasn’t looked back since making his debut.
Now adored by the Wigan faithful, Reece has been named in the division’s Team of the Season, fuelling speculation that he’s set for a further step up the ladder next term. At first, it was widely expected that the defender would join a bottom half Premier League side or go to cut his teeth in a different European league but with news breaking yesterday that Chelsea’s two-year transfer ban on incoming players has been upheld, you may well see Maurizio Sarri looking to bring Reece into the first-team picture at Stamford Bridge from August onwards.
Whilst the former Napoli boss had originally seemed stubborn to the idea of involving the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in his match day line-ups, recent months have seen the Italian soften to the idea, being rewarded for his newfound flexibility with impressive performances alongside goals and assists aplenty. Could James be the next man given the chance to shine on the Fulham Road? Only time will tell.
It should also be said that, although slightly dependant upon how you personally view Reece’s game, there will be a lengthy debate over how Roy Hodgson would look to use him, should a deal indeed be ironed out between ourselves and Chelsea. Capable of playing on the right or in the centre of defence as well as the heart of midfield, James is versatile but with Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins and Sakho all established in their positions at Selhurst Park, it’s hard to imagine the youngster ousting any of them.
Don’t get me wrong, he clearly has an incredibly high ceiling but at the time of writing, it seems more likely that the Chelsea man would be used as a rotational tool in the middle of the park rather than nailing down a role in the back four.
Lastly and perhaps most likely of all, there is a chance that this is nothing more than a fabricated story, based upon Palace’s their recent positive history with Chelsea loans. We’re not going to find out one way or another for at least a month or two but you’d imagine the final call will have far more to do with the Blues’ will than anything from our end.
Watch this space.