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Chelsea can secure excellent Reece James alternative in Kyle Walker-Peters

Chelsea have been linked with a host of right-backs this season, with standout performer Reece James shackled to the medical department for large proportions of the campaign and veteran skipper Cesar Azpilicueta approaching the twilight phase of his career at Stamford Bridge.

Multiple names have indeed been touted with a move to SW6, and Kyle Walker-Peters has become the latest addition to the rumour mill, with talkSPORT’s Alex Crook stating that the Blues are set to rival Manchester United for the Southampton full-back.

The Red Devils are said to be looking to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, while Chelsea indeed need a player of top-class quality to bolster the right-back position given James’ recent injury woes

The 25-year-old has been catching the eye for the Saints since joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2020 for £12m, after initially impressing out on loan with the south coast outfit. Meanwhile, Spurs are also keeping tabs on the player’s availability following his previous departure from the club, as per the aforementioned report. 

Southampton are currently confined to the Premier League relegation zone, having won just three of their 18 top-flight matches this season, but Walker-Peters can hold his head high after maintaining a solid level of performance amid the relative mediocrity at St Mary’s.

So far this season, the £20k-per-week defender has made 14 appearances in the league, scoring one goal, creating two big chances and averaging 0.7 key passes, 1.7 tackles and 1.4 clearances per match, as per Sofascore.

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Cesc Fabregas in action for Chelsea

How much did Chelsea pay to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, 2014?

Displaying respectable numbers to his offensive game despite plying his trade for a languishing team who have scored just 15 goals in the league this term is a testament to his tenacity in seeking forward openings and always looking to improve the Saints’ fortunes.

A per FBref, the two-cap England international ranks within the top 3% of full-backs for dribbles completed, the top 11% for touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 27% for rate of non-penalty goals when compared to positional peers playing across Europe’s major leagues over the past year.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter must be licking his lips at the prospect of nurturing this innate offensive talent, providing him with a vivacious alternative to the injury-plagued James and an increased attacking impetus from the full-back areas.

Hailed as “outstanding” by Danny Higginbotham in 2022, Walker-Peters ought to be slowly edging towards a move to a European-challenging outfit considering his displays in a struggling team.

With Southampton attempting to stave off the threat of relegation, Potter’s mission to secure the marauding full-back could be made a whole lot easier should the Saints indeed fall into the Championship.