The England international has been linked with a shock move to Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Manchester City with Pep Guardiola said to be an admirer of the right-back.
Chelsea defender Reece James has been linked with a surprise switch to Manchester City this summer.
The right-sided defender enjoyed a fine time for the Blues last term, as he impressed under both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel to earn a place in the England Euro 2020 squad.
In one of James’ best performances of the 2020/21 season, he brilliantly nullified the threat of Raheem Sterling as Chelsea beat Man City in the Champions League final a month ago.
And perhaps it was that showing that has caught Pep Guardiola’s attention as the Spaniard is being tipped to freshen up his City squad this summer.
According to The Athletic, Guardiola is a ‘huge admirer’ of the Chelsea right-back and his Man City side are interested in bringing him to the Etihad Stadium.
Whilst Chelsea and Man City have done business in the past – most notably for Shaun Wright-Phillips in 2005 and again in 2008 – the likelihood of James swapping Stamford Bridge for the Etihad Stadium looks almost impossible.
In fact, Tuchel’s team selections after he was appointed as Blues head coach can act as a hands-off warning to Guardiola and Man City.
Despite the German’s willingness to rotate his starting XI’s from game to game, as per transfermarkt, no player featured under him more times than James (29).
That is two more appearances than Mason Mount, who is widely regarded as one of Tuchel’s Chelsea undroppables.
Furthermore, Tuchel will have been boosted by the fact that James can also operate as a right-sided centre-back as proven in the aforementioned Champions League final.
Speaking after the FA Cup final loss against Leicester, Tuchel revealed why James is perfect for a role in a back three.
“Reece [James] played in the back three and we put Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] up higher,” the Blues boss said. “They changed the position because we knew about the favourite position of Jamie Vardy in counter-attacks and the transition game.
“We wanted Reece’s power and acceleration and top speed against him to eliminate this threat. He did fantastic today. I’m very, very happy.
“On the same side we wanted to have Azpi a bit higher because he takes from his experience and character a bit more risk than Reece in the last line.
“If Azpi had scored the first goal and it was not deflected beforehand it would’ve been a great decision.
It’s no secret that Tuchel likes speed throughout his side and in James he has a player who can operate in two positions.
So even if the Blues manage to bring in a right-wing back in the summer transfer window, that doesn’t mean the 21-year-old will be surplus to requirements.
Tuchel’s decisions with James since January would suggest that he views the defender as a key member of his Chelsea squad, thus ruling out the prospect of doing business with Manchester City.