Chelsea must open the path for Reece James to become a first-team regular next season

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to The Evening Standard, Chelsea are contemplating whether to allow Davide Zappacosta leave the club on loan this summer, so that young starlet Reece James can be promoted to being back-up right-back for next season.

What’s the word?

The report claims that the club had initially viewed Ola Aina as the club’s second-choice full-back on the right-hand side, but had to change plans following the 22-year-old’s wish to join Torino on a permanent deal.

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That has led the Blues to consider potentially pushing James to be Cesar Azpilicueta’s back-up for the upcoming campaign.

It adds that if the 19-year-old escapes from suffering any more setbacks to his current injury, then loan offers for Zappacosta – valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt – will be considered.

The smart move

Having arrived from Torino back in 2017 for a reported £23m, Zappacosta has had a difficult career at Chelsea and has had very little to shout about.

The 13-cap Italy international has been on the periphery of things for a while now, making just 17 appearances last season, and doesn’t look at all likely to displace Azpilicueta from the starting right-back berth at Chelsea.

On the other hand, James’ impressive loan performances for Wigan last season has certainly raised the hope that he could become a mainstay of the Chelsea side for years to come, and at just 19-years-old, there is plenty of room for improvement.

Frank Lampard’s arrival as manager has renewed hope that the club’s talented academy will be given a genuine chance to impress, and James should surely be one of those in and around the first-team.

The powerful full-back looks ready-made for the Premier League with his muscular physique and impressed everyone last year by registering three goals and three assists from 46 appearances.

The Blues’ prospective transfer ban has almost breathed a new sense of energy across Stamford Bridge, and moving on an under-performing first-team star to give the opportunity to a young up-and-comer is certainly something akin to undergoing a fresh start.

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