According to The Sun, Leicester City have joined Manchester United in the race to sign Reece James this summer. The Chelsea defender was one of the most consistent defenders in the Championship this past season and has attracted the interest of a host of clubs across England.
The report claims that Leicester are the latest club to join the chase, with Brendan Rodgers identifying him as the ideal target for the Foxes. It is believed James could cost around £15 million.
Reece James’ success with Wigan
James moved to Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan deal last summer. He emerged as one of the Championship’s most consistent defenders and was perhaps Wigan’s most impressive player of the season. The Chelsea youth product featured in 45 league matches and was involved in six goals. And his service on the flanks played a critical role in helping the Tics stay away from the relegation scrap.
What can James bring to the table?
A right back by trade, James is an attack-minded fullback, who likes to venture forward at every given opportunity. He can link-up with teammates in the final third and create scoring opportunities for his team. He is also an excellent crosser of the ball as almost 70% of his key passes have originated from crosses this past season.
Aside from that, James is an aggressive tackler, having averaged over two tackles per game. That means he has the willingness to win back possession for his team – a prized trait for any Premier League fullback. Another key asset of his game is his proficiency in set-pieces, with 50% of his shots coming from set-pieces during the 2018/19 campaign.
However, what makes James such an appealing target is his versatility. The 19-year-old, though a right-back by trade, can operate as a centre-back and even as a central midfielder if needed.
Is James a viable target for Leicester City?
James will be an excellent addition to Leicester City for multiple reasons. The young defender can provide cover for Ricardo Pereira in the right-back slot. He can also be utilised as a back-up in the central defensive roles. Hence, his versatility will allow Brendan Rodgers to rotate his squad, week in week out freely.
Rodgers can even utilise James as a right-back, with Pereira operating in an attacking role. And this will make Leicester City a much versatile side – from a tactical perspective. And at the age of 19, the Chelsea defender can be a smart long-term investment for the Foxes.
However, they will face stiff competition from Manchester United. The Red Devils are also keen on the services of James as Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer looks to build his team around promising young players next season.