Reece James will only be out for a few weeks after reinjuring his knee in yesterday’s 2-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, but earlier we had feared the worst. Despite that good(ish) news, Chelsea clearly could use another (backup) option at the position. We all love César Azpilicueta, legend and all, but he’s not an ideal solution anymore unfortunately.
One possibility could be Josip Juranović, at least according to the Daily Mail and Sky Sports, who claim that we are ready to “accelerate” our interest in the 27-year-old Celtic man, who’s supposedly a “long-term” target. The Scottish Premiership champions are apparently resigned to losing him even though he has 3.5 years left on his contract still, and have already agreed the transfer of 24-year-old Alistair Johnson from CF Montréal, presumably as his eventual replacement.
Like Canada international Johnson, Juranović played every single of his nation’s available minutes at the World Cup, though obviously Croatia went a bit further than the surprisingly fun bunch from CONCACAF. He’s not exactly Reece James of course, especially in terms of attacking output (FBref list Mattia De Sciglio as a similar player, for example), but he’s said to be available for just £8m — though Chelsea are not exactly alone in considering an approach, with the likes of Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and at least one other unnamed Premier League side all interested.
That said, it’s hard to see him as anything but, say, another, older, cheaper Davide Zappacosta-type acquisition. We’re supposedly signing younger players these days with an actual long-term plan in mind, so weathering James’ latest absence and putting in place a proper backup for him for the future might need a more thought-out solution.
Chelsea one of a number of clubs looking at Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic. Told internal talks have taken place at Chelsea to assess right-back options as they wait for the full extent of Reece James' injury. #CFC #Juranovic #Celtic https://t.co/GqzhhLcDI5— Dharmesh Sheth (@skysports_sheth) December 28, 2022