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Reece James probably saved Chelsea at least €50m

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Thank you, transfer ban!

England U21 Media Day - St George’s Park Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Elseid Hysaj’s agent is not a very happy camper these days. His client’s contract is expiring at the end of the season, and if he leaves Napoli for free, there will be no transfer fee from which the agent could take his customary (and probably way too large of a) cut. And considering that Hysaj apparently came fairly close to a €50m transfer to Chelsea 18 months ago, Mr. Agent is a bit miffed indeed.

“A year-and-a-half ago, Napoli could’ve taken €50m from Chelsea. If Hysaj stays at Napoli [in January], the Neapolitan club risks losing the player for nothing [in the summer].”

-Mario Giuffredi; source: Radio Punto Nuovo via Football Italia

At the time, Chelsea were just starting our Sarri-ball adventures, and the former Napoli head coach was linked with half his old team. But Napoli’s brash owner, Aurelio Di Laurentiis waged war publicly against his old employee, and put a non-belligerence clause into their separation agreement, which prevented Chelsea from going after any other Napoli player besides Jorginho. So Hysaj, who had played all but 1 of his 247 career professional club matches to that point under Sarri (first at Empoli and then Napoli), stayed. He played regularly enough under Carlo Ancelotti last season (starting 30 of their 52 matches in all competitions), but this year, he’s been restricted to just 4 appearances (2 starts). And while the 25-year-old has battled a few injuries during this period as well, it would appear that his time in Naples is ending.

Hysaj will of course land on his feet, be that at Napoli with a new contract or somewhere else in Italy or Europe. He’s a quality player who can play on either flank and is just about entering what should be the prime years of his football career. He’s been linked AS Roma frequently.

One team he hasn’t been linked with since the death of Sarri-ball in London is Chelsea, even now that our transfer ban is winding down and the rumor mill is winding back up. The left back rumor of choice these days is Ben Chilwell. The right back rumor of choice is ... well, there is none! And the reason for that primarily is the emergence of Reece James, who can add “saving Chelsea €50m” (which is what it costs to buy Premier League quality these days) to his already impressive and growing list of accomplishments at age 19.

Thanks, Reece! (And thanks, transfer ban, as well!)