Chelsea rejecting £25m Reece James bid highlights the challenge facing Leeds amid reported interest

Leeds United's manager Marcelo Bielsa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United at Hillsborough Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Sheffield, England.

Marcelo Bielsa reportedly wants to bring Chelsea's Premier League wonderkid Reece James to the Championship.

Reece James of Chelsea celebrates with Ross Barkley of Chelsea after he scores his sides 5th goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Chelsea FC and Grimsby Town at Stamford...

The phrase ‘barking up the wrong tree’ comes to mind.

According to The Sun, Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa is a big fan of Chelsea wonderkid Reece James in the hope that the 19-year-old would be allowed the leave Stamford Bridge on loan during the January transfer window.

But don’t expect to see James on his way to Elland Road any time soon. The chances of Chelsea sending the right-back to West Yorkshire are more unlikely than an Eddie Nketiah start – and not just because of the way Izzy Brown, Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman toiled for game-time on loan at Leeds last season.


James, unlike Brown, Baker and Blackman, is a key part of Frank Lampard’s first-team plans right now. He’s still behind captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the pecking order but, as he showed during half an hour on the pitch during Saturday’s 4-2 win at Burnley, James is ready to play regularly for the Premier League giants.

Lampard himself obviously thinks so.

Reece James of Chelsea during the Chelsea FC v Brighton and Hove Albion Premier League 2 match at Stamford Bridge on September 13, 2019 in London, England.

According to The Independent, The Blues rejected a £25 million bid from Crystal Palace while Premier League rivals Newcastle, Brighton and Bournemouth were left disappointed too.

Now, Leeds’ interest is no surprise. James was a revelation during a loan spell at Wigan Athletic last season, inspiring the Latics to survival while earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year.

One masterful performance against Elland Road in Wigan’s shock 2-1 win in the spring really caught the eye with the full-back dominating the game from an unusual central midfield role, showing the kind of technical ability and versatility that seemingly helped him catch the eye of the famously demanding Bielsa.

But with James getting more and more minutes as the weeks go by at Chelsea, this feels like a non-starter. The Blues have plenty of games in league and cup on the horizon and with Azpilicueta not getting any younger, James has a big part to play.

Reece James of Chelsea runs with the ball during the Friendly Match match between New England Revolution and Chelsea at Gillette Stadium on May 15, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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