Manchester United are reportedly keeping close tabs on Chelsea youth product Reece James after the 16-year-old put in a number of good performances this season. The talented youngster has been welcomed into the first team already by Antonio Conte and has trained with the senior squad members several times this season.
James has started for the Chelsea first team already this season, specifically in their EFL Cup penalty shootout win against Oxford United and it is believed that his performance caught the eye of Manchester United.
According to the Daily Mail, United will have to fight for his signature after reports claim that German club Red Bull Leipzig have already sent scouts to watch and track the youngster in an effort to sign him soon. Reece James can play in defence and is equally adept at playing in midfield, and Leipzig chief Ralf Rangnick has already watched the youngster in person as Leipzig look to make a bid for the player soon.
Red Bull Leipzig have been in superb form this season and currently lead the Bundesliga table after 11 games with 27 points despite being a newly promoted team.
James signed an academy contract with Chelsea in the month of June and was part of nine new young players who were drafted into Chelsea’s youth team in the summer.
Many are tipping the youngster for great success and he has already made waves with a number of solid performances. United are well known for their youth development and are considering a move for the youngster to add to their already flourishing academy set up.
However, Chelsea will be reluctant to let the youngster go as they look to make use of and develop their academy more under new Italian boss Antonio Conte. Conte has previously criticised his predecessor Jose Mourinho for not developing the Chelsea youth team more and integrating academy players into the first team squad, “There are many players with a good prospect for Chelsea. I don't know why in the past a few players have played with the first team.”
Conte had previously stated the importance of giving the Chelsea youth a chance, “Yeah, it's important. Because Chelsea has a fantastic academy,” he said in a conversation with ESPN.
“But I think that the academy is a great source for the manager of the first team. It's important, also, that the young players must show to play in the first team. But I love to play with the young players and to improve them. It's important to have good quality to improve and to show that a young player can play with the first team.”
While more recently he had stated after Nathaniel Chalobah’s performance against West Ham, “We have good young players and they need to play,” said Conte.
Reece James is in demand and could seek to play elsewhere and gain more experience, and perhaps the Blues will look into the possibility of a loan deal with Red Bull Leipzig in the near future with United sniffing around as well. He is surely one to watch.
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