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Reports: Manchester City shortlist Chelsea's Reece James. Here's why they probably haven't...

Reports this morning have linked Chelsea full-back Reece James with Manchester City - with Pep Guardiola said to be a huge admirer. This link doesn't really make any sense, and there's an interesting element of the report which may suggest the real intentions behind the story.

Highly-regarded Chelsea journalist Simon Johnson of The Athletic reports that Manchester City have added Reece James to their transfer wishlist and are interested in purchasing the 21-year-old, who has enjoyed an excellent season in West London.


Pep Guardiola is a huge admirer of the right-back, according to Johnson and The Athletic, and his displays against Guardiola's side in the Premier League fixture at the Etihad and the Champions League final last season are believed to have caught the Catalan's attention. James' versatility is also highlighted as a reason for catching Guardiola's attention, with the England international capable of playing in central defence and midfield.


Johnson states that with City looking at signing Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, it would be difficult for them to move for James in this window, too. It's added that Chelsea are not looking to sell, with the Cobham academy graduate also having four years left on his deal.


However, the Premier League champions reportedly think there may be an opportunity due to Chelsea's advances for Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi, who looks set to join Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea's pursuit of Hakimi has sent out the message that there are some doubts over James being a regular first-team option and seen as more of a squad player.

There are a host of reasons why this link does not seem to make much sense, one of which is the fierce competition at the right-back position at City, with Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo proving invaluable during various periods of last season. The Portugal international, who could not participate at the Euros due to testing positive for COVID-19, has even found himself deployed at left-back to include the unique qualities of Walker.


According to Johnson, City want James regardless of the competition they currently have in the position with Walker and Cancelo - which makes very little sense to us.


A solution to this would be Cancelo switched to a left-back option permanently, but while he has impressed at times in that role, he is clearly more comfortable and effective on the other flank.


City would be looking at a right-back if one of their current options was set to move on, but Walker has shown no signs of unhappiness, and Cancelo, who has been reported by outlets in Spain as a player the club would consider moving on, is not expected to leave and has also shown no signs of unhappiness after a great season, according to Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News.


It's not unrealistic for City to have an interest in James, given he possesses qualities that would be of interest to Txiki Begiristain and Pep Guardiola, but a move is highly unrealistic given that they're looking at buying Kane and Grealish, they have two high-quality options currently in the position, and Roman Abramovic is unlikely to sell to a direct rival.


With Johnson making a point of how James is one of the lowest-paid members of the Chelsea squad, due to being considered as a promising squad member at the time of signing a new deal in January 2020, it seems as though this story is an attempt to get Chelsea to renegotiate terms with their full-back amid this rumoured interest from Guardiola and City.


So, while James may be on City's very long list of interesting players, this story does not seem to us to be more than a ploy at getting a new deal at Chelsea.

ELSEWHERE


Marlos Moreno is set to join KV Kortrijk on a season-long loan after Manchester City agreed on terms with the Belgian first division side, according to various sources. The 24-year-old, who joined City in 2016 from Atletico Nacional, impressed out on loan in the Belgian second division with City Football Group side, Lommel SK, last season. The Colombian forward's contract with City expires in 2023.


Rich Sharpe of the Lancashire Telegraph reports that Blackburn's relationship with Manchester City has blossomed following the loans of Taylor Harwood-Bellis, who is set to join Vincent Kompany's Anderlecht on a season-long loan, and Tosin Adarabioyo. Sharpe reports that Blackburn have worked closely with City's loan bosses, which could lead to the prospect of more loan deals in the future.

Written by: @NA1907_


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