Manchester City could snap up Chelsea captain Reece James “within the next 18 months”, according to The Sun‘s Chief Sport Reporter Martin Lipton.
Pep Guardiola’s side are known to be big fans of the England international, and Lipton claims the fullback could be sold by the Blues’ American owners to raise funds:
“I think that within the next 18 months, both Gallagher and James will have been sold by Chelsea and James will go to Man City as the replacement for Walker. The new owners have never seen James play well and if they can get £80m for him they will.”
£80m would still be a lot for a player who has struggled to stay fit over the past couple of seasons, but there is no doubt that he could be a long-term successor for Kyle Walker if he can steer clear of more injuries.
Why would Chelsea want to sell their captain?
The main motivation for the Blues to offload James is Financial Fair Play. As the defender is an academy player, a sale would be classed as pure profit on the balance sheet because they didn’t have to buy him.
As Lipton mentions, there has been constant speculation about Conor Gallagher’s future for the same reason, despite the midfielder being a regular starter for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
James has been tracked by City for some time
Before the fullback signed a new six-year contract with Chelsea in September 2022, the Cityzens had already been mentioned as a potential suitor.
Although there was a feeling at the time that the Premier League champions knew there was very little chance of pulling off the transfer, they were still interested in signing him. If James does come onto the market in the future, it’s fair to assume that they will seriously consider making a bid.