Lauren James’ transfer to Chelsea has been in the works for a while — yes, this summer, but also ever since her legend grew in Arsenal’s academy when the now 19-year-old was just 13. With all of the shocking dysfunction unearthed at Manchester United after losing the only coach they’d known as a professional club after narrowly missing a Champions league spot, this seemed to be ever more likely.
The Red Devils played a bit of hard-to-get but reportedly a fee has been agreed. James has already passed her Chelsea medical, and personal terms are surely just a formality.
The Athletic’s report differs from the initial ones claiming a fee of £200,000 plus add-ons that could take it to £300,000, with a “player going the other way” supposedly. So it’s possible that some negotiations are still ongoing, but the framework of a deal has been agreed.
As reported earlier, Lauren James is expected to join #CFC from #MUFC within 48 hours. Apologies, detail on the fee needed correcting: it is for initial £50,000 plus a player going the other way. Add-ons can take final sum much higher. More here:https://t.co/xboykcEHRU— Simon Johnson (@SJohnsonSport) July 13, 2021
So, how might Lauren James fit into this already overstuffed-with-talent Chelsea squad?
For the bulk of her still very young career she has played in the forward line, either at striker or left wing, and in fact scored a banger against the club she’s now joining. You can see in that goal the kind of talent James already is. She’s nearly impossible to take the ball from and knows how to manipulate and move the opposition with her dribble.
Felt so good to be back on the pitch today, doing what I love. I’ve missed it! Gutted with the result, we are improving all the time as a team and we will continue to work hard. We keep pushing. pic.twitter.com/n1uCiTmA2P— Lauren James (@laurenjamess22) January 17, 2021
But at Chelsea, there’s also the small problem of Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Fran Kirby, Guro Reiten, Bethany England, Erin Cuthbert, and Niamh Charles existing and playing tremendous football, forcing Emma Hayes to get creative in who lines up where.
Niamh Charles started important matches on the right and left of the back line, and Erin Cuthbert was often dropped into midfield. It’s possible that Hayes may want to have a look at James in the left back position, particularly to utilize her dribbling skills to break a press, or at the very least relieve pressure.
Of course all of this is theoretical for now. We’ll just have to wait and see. What is true now is that Lauren James appears to be coming home to join her brother at Chelsea. You know what they say: a family that wins trophies together, stays together.