Chelsea have rejected several loan bids from Premier League clubs for promising youth prospect Reece James.
According to reports in The Times, at least eight top tier English clubs have enquired about the versatile player, including Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.
The Blues have decided to show faith in a player that had a phenomenal season out on loan at Wigan Athletic the previous season and rejected any advances of other clubs. Instead, they are looking to allow Davide Zappacosta to leave, either on loan or in a permanent transfer, most likely back to Serie A.
The £25 million right-back has struggled to break through since signing from Torino in 2017. The Italian has also failed to impress in pre-season, with César Azpilicueta preferred for the majority of the friendly games.
Frank Lampard appears ready to place his faith in James as he looks to include more of the talented youth that Chelsea have at their disposal.
The powerful full-back is currently recovering from an ankle injury and will most likely act as an understudy to Azpilicueta, appearing in cup games and working his way into the first-team squad.
Future Chelsea Star
James has always been highly rated in the Chelsea Academy, and the young Englishman has plenty of individual accolades under his belt to prove it.
The right-back was named in the Team of the 2017 Toulon Tournament, as well as picking up 'Young Player of the Final'. In the 17/18 season, he was also named as Chelsea's 'Academy Player of the Year', which resulted in the club attempting to further his development by sending him out on loan.
The promising player's new destination was Wigan, to test out his abilities in the Championship. Even though his talent was undeniable, no-one expected just how well James would do in his first season in men's senior professional football.
The London-born defender impressed at right-back, showing physicality far beyond his years and deadly accuracy in his crossing ability.
James also got to showcase his versatility when he was moved into central midfield - impressing in the middle of the park and scoring a 'Goal of the Season' contender.
These performances resulted in the 19-year-old being named as Wigan's 'Player of the Year'. This excited many at Chelsea as fans began to call for more pace and something new at right-back - something that James could definitely provide.
Unfortunately, the player picked up an ankle injury that required surgery just before Chelsea's pre-season could get underway. Frustration for the full-back and the fans, but Lampard seems to recognise the undoubted talent of the youngster.