This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
A solid choice, but can they make it work?
What’s the story?
According to a report from Football Insider, Leeds United are looking into the option of bringing in Chelsea’s young right-back Reece James on a temporary deal.
The 19-year-old has already got plenty of Championship experience, having spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic and certainly impressed people in Lancashire as he walked away with a number of awards at the DW Stadium, as well as making it into the EFL Championship Team of the Year
James has made just two appearances at Stamford Bridge this term, but has found his path blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta, so may be forced to leave in order to continue his development.
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Take a bit of the pressure off
Leeds United aren’t exactly blessed with central defenders right now but despite James predominantly being a right-back, he could prove highly beneficial.
If the west Yorkshire side were able to acquire his services it might be a move that allows Luke Ayling to push inside and act as a backup for the likes of Ben White and Liam Cooper.
This would mean Marcelo Bielsa wouldn’t have to rely on the liability that is Gaetano Berardi and his shambolic disciplinary record of eight red cards.
Leeds lost their first outing with Cooper out injured so perhaps an alternative solution to Berardi is needed. Ayling played in the middle when he was dismissed so it’s feasible to suggest he could move position if James arrives.
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However, it’s not just in terms of extra bodies that he can be vital for them, but having provided three goals and three assists for the Latics last term, he clearly loves to go forward and would suit Bielsa’s system of attacking full-backs quite well.
Stuart Dallas and Gjanni Alioski have three strikes between them this season from full-back alone.
James showed during his time at Wigan Athletic that he is more than comfortable at this level, so it’s not as if they would be taking a risk by bringing in someone who can give them an instant boost not just at right-back but give them a little bit of breathing space when it comes to cover for their centre-backs.
Should Berardi start this weekend?
There is something though that could throw a spanner in the works.
According to a report in The Sun from the summer, there are some concerns at Leeds that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard might be reluctant to help them out because of the whole Spygate saga when he was at Derby. Resultantly, they might have to be rather convincing in their conversations to get Lampard to play ball.