‘Operation Reece James’ – Report claims Chelsea star ‘could leave’ for £44m with Madrid lurking

Jason Soutar
Reece James defends against Vinicius Jr

Real Madrid are reportedly plotting an ambitious bid for Chelsea right-back Reece James – who ‘could’ be available for as little as £44million.

James played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday evening’s Champions League quarter-final between the Blues and the European champions.

Admittedly, it was not the England right-back’s best evening.

Vinicius Junior ran James ragged – as he does to many elite defenders – as Los Blancos won 2-0 without breaking a sweat.

James has previously been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, which is quite surprising as you would expect the English international to be one of the few untouchable players at Stamford Bridge.

Spanish outlet Marca reported on Wednesday that Real Madrid were planning to keep an eye on James throughout the Champions League clash in the Spanish capital.

The report stated that Madrid ‘like’ the 23-year-old and believe they can ‘target’ him despite the fact he signed a five-year contract extension last September.

A stumbling block for the Spanish giants was Chelsea’s €70million valuation of the player, which made any idea of a transfer ‘dead’.

However, a report from the same outlet on Thursday has said a transfer could be on the cards for €50m (£44m).

James was actually given a one-star rating by Marca for his display against Vinicius, but this has apparently not deterred Madrid’s interest.

Madrid reportedly like James and Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies and are ‘watching’ both defenders.

The Chelsea star’s departure ‘could occur over €50m’, the report states.

Real Madrid’s first-choice right-back at this moment in time is Dani Carvajal, while Carlo Ancelotti has been utilising Eduardo Camavinga on the other side of his defence.

The signing of James feels extremely unrealistic, even if Chelsea need to sell in order to balance the books.

The club’s owners have spent an absolute fortune since buying the club from Roman Abramovich last year, building a talented, yet underperforming, squad.

Graham Potter recently lost his job having dealt with an extremely bloated squad, which certainly did not help him.

Several players are being linked with a summer transfer, but the sale of James will surely not be discussed.

Conor Gallagher is attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, and is expected to leave at the end of the season.

Other stars such as Mason Mount, Edouard Mendy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all likely to depart with whoever replaces Potter in the long term needing to drastically trim the squad.

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