Chelsea have delayed contract talks with defender Reece James, 90min understands, although they are unfazed by interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City.
James emerged as one of Chelsea's greatest assets during the 2021/22 campaign. Despite his season being disrupted by a hamstring tear, the 22-year-old still managed to reach double figures for assists and notched six goals in all competitions from wing-back.
The academy graduate's current contract does not expire until 2025, but he is not currently among the top earners at Stamford Bridge. Following his meteoric rise under head coach Thomas Tuchel and amid interest from elsewhere, the west London club want to reward James with a bumper new deal and a one-to-two-year extension .
90min previously reported that fresh terms for James would be a priority once a takeover of the club was complete. However, although the Todd Boehly-led consortium has now assumed control, 90min understands other needs may take precedence until after the summer with the transfer window open.
Chelsea are not unduly concerned by Real Madrid and Manchester City keeping tabs on James, safe in the belief that they possess one of the finest full-backs on the planet and interest from Europe's leading clubs is therefore inevitable.
James has been associated with Chelsea since the ages of six and his father has previously suggested that his son dreams of becoming club captain - signalling his commitment and loyalty to the Blues.
For the time being Chelsea will focus their attention on the transfer market, where reinforcing a depleted defence is among their priorities. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have officially left the club, while Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta's futures remain uncertain.
Sources have told 90min that new contracts for the likes of James and Mason Mount will then move onto Chelsea's radar ahead of the World Cup in November.
Source : 90min