Manchester City have Reece James transfer belief as Chelsea battle to keep England star

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Manchester City reportedly think Chelsea could be open to selling Reece James, despite their initial rejection of any approach for the England defender. City have identified James as one of their transfer targets this summer, and while they know it won’t be easy, the Premier League champions believe there is a chance of striking a deal for him.

James has enjoyed a meteoric rise at Chelsea over the past two seasons, making 84 appearances across all competitions after returning from a positive loan spell at Wigan Athletic.

The 21-year-old has developed into one of the most promising young players in the Premier League and is a favourite of Thomas Tuchel.

He was a key part of the Chelsea side which secured a top-four position in the league and beat Man City 1-0 in the Champions League final last month.

James’ performance in shutting down the threat of his England team-mate Raheem Sterling in the final was particularly impressive and City could make a move for him this summer.

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According to The Athletic, Pep Guardiola is a ‘huge admirer’ and City are ‘interested in buying him’.

James’ performances against Man City last season and his ability to play in multiple positions make him an interesting prospect for Guardiola.

The England right-back has four years left on his contract and Chelsea are ‘understandably not looking to sell’, but that hasn’t wholly deterred City.

The Athletic says that Chelsea’s pursuit of Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi has provided a chink in the armour for Man City.

Hakimi is valued at £60million by Inter and it appears that the Moroccan international is going to join Paris Saint-Germain, who are willing to meet the Italian club’s asking price.

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However, while Tuchel’s side are in danger of losing out to PSG for Hakimi, their interest in his signature has given City a boost.

Guardiola’s side reportedly feel that Chelsea wanting Hakimi – a direct challenger for James’ position – means the club has ‘some doubts over James being a first-team regular long-term and see him more as a squad player’.

That stance is perhaps corroborated by the fact James remains one of the lowest paid players in the Chelsea squad, despite signing an extension in January 2020.

Yet, the report also suggests a move this summer could be complicated by City’s other movements in the transfer window.

The Premier League champions want Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Aston Villa star Jack Grealish and moves for all three would stretch even their financial muscles.

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