Crystal Palace opinion: Why Reece James would be a good fit for the Eagles
According to the BBC, Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne has suffered knee ligament damage during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States that is set to keep him out for the remainder of 2019.
The England international, 28, joined Liverpool in 2015 from Southampton but lost his first-team place to Trent Alexander-Arnold and spent the second half of last season on loan at Bournemouth.
After failing to work his way into the first-team picture at Anfield, he now faces an uphill battle to regain fitness and salvage his Liverpool career.
Clyne had been linked with a return to former club Crystal Palace but following his injury, the Eagles may have to alter their plans.
Roy Hodgson’s men have only made only two summer signings but they desperately need a new right-back following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s departure. Unfortunately, Clyne is no longer going to be the man to fill that void.
Reece James, 19, spent last season on loan at Wigan and was one of the standout performers in the Championship, even ending the season with the captain’s armband.
Chelsea are under a transfer ban until next summer and manager Frank Lampard is keen to use the transfer embargo to integrate more academy stars into the first team.
It will be a big blow to Palace’s plans that Chelsea have knocked back their bid but they must have another go with an improved bid, as James appears to have the potential to be Wan-Bissaka’s replacement, and also offers a lot of versatility.
James’ performances for Wigan have not gone unnoticed, with the England youth international impressing with his versatility of playing in several positions last season in the Championship. The 19-year-old also scored three goals and provided three assists in the league, as the Latics avoided the drop.
The English full-back sustained ligament damage while playing for England U20s against Chile in the Toulon tournament in June and had to undergo surgery to rectify the problem.
It means that he will miss the start of the season but Chelsea are hopeful that he will be available for selection again in September.
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As far as Palace are concerned, Hodgson has Joel Ward and Martin Kelly as two right-backs available to choose from. But both Ward and Kelly are best to have as squad players, which means Hodgson has to sign a dynamic player to replace Wan-Bissaka.
Noted for athleticism, work-rate, energy and versatility as well as defensive acumen, James would be an ideal fit under Hodgson at Selhurst Park.
Hence, it’s a no-brainer for Palace to return with an improved offer for James and hope Chelsea sell their academy starlet.