Chelsea’s resolve to keep Reece James at the club for this season has been properly tested this summer, with the club rejecting “at least eight” inquiries from Premier League teams for him. That’s the story from the Telegraph from earlier this week, who add that Frank Lampard is “keen” to make the 19-year-old Academy standout the “understudy” to the César Azpilicuta at right back.
Two factors are complicating that situation, James’s injury and the presence of a certain Davide Zappacosta. One of those issues is easy to resolve: James is expected to be back soon-ish and while he missed all of preseason, will still be given every chance to integrate with the team and show us what he’s got.
The other issue is proving much harder to resolve. Chelsea may be ready to move on from Zappacosta, but so far, he’s had no takers, on loan or otherwise. The Telegraph’s report does remind that the transfer window in other leagues, unlike in the Premier League, doesn’t close this week — Italy’s is open until the start of their season on August 24, while most other leagues can register new players until September 2 — so Chelsea have a bit more time to find a solution that will work for the club and the player as well.
Until then, Zappacosta can continue to back up Azpilicueta, so this may yet turn into a win-win-win-win situation. But right now, it’s far from an ideal situation, given the risk of waiting too long to find a move for Zappacosta, not to mention the risk inherent in Reece James’ ankle injury recovery itself.