Reece James’ chances of breaking into the Chelsea first-team hinge on whether the club decide to loan out Davide Zappacosta.
James, 19, enjoyed an outstanding 2018/19 season on loan at Wigan as they successfully fought off relegation from the Championship.
His performances caught the eye and many feel he is destined to be part of Chelsea’s senior set-up sooner rather than later, and the club want him to be the main back-up to club captain and current right-back Cesar Azpilicueta this season, the Evening Standard reports.
The versatile teenager is currently sidelined after sustaining an ankle injury on England Under-20 duty at the beginning of June, which has forced Frank Lampard to utilise Zappacosta so much throughout pre-season.
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The Italy international has two-and-a-half years remaining on his Chelsea contract, but has struggled to hold down a regular place in the team since his £23million move from Torino in 2017.
He has been linked with a return to Serie A, with both Roma and Lazio said to be interested in him.
Chelsea plan to hand a new contract to James as they look to build their squad around a core of academy youngsters.
They have already handed out fresh deals to Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek since Lampard took over as manager, while Callum Hudson-Odoi will also put pen to paper on a contract extension before the start of the campaign.