Chelsea’s knack at harnessing the potential of promising youth candidates has been meticulously perfected over the years, and despite the majority of Cobham graduates filtering through without success at Stamford Bridge, the select few to earn their stripes among the Blues senior system has been nothing short of spectacular.
And despite the seasonal misfortune – Chelsea languish in tenth in the Premier League after 25 matches – the endearing Blues support can take solace from the fact that the likes of Reece James remain unwavering amid the lucrative influx that has followed Todd Boehly’s arrival as owner last year; Chelsea have spent over £550m across the past two transfer windows.
James has been a monstrous force in west London since his emergence from the academy, and he can hardly be blamed for the bulk of the woes given he has been battling with an injury for the majority of the campaign and has consequently missed out on 17 matches of action.
But not that he has returned, the 23-year-old can lead his team to glory across the business end of the season, with his comeback coinciding with a succession of victories, against Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund in the Premier League and Champions League respectively.
And with The Telegraph suggesting that the club’s hierarchy are preparing the right-back for the captaincy role, his breakthrough to prominence can be regarded as nothing other than an unmitigated and unequivocal success.
How much is Reece James worth now?
Having started his career on Chelsea’s books, James was valued at £250k by Transfermarkt upon his loan move to Wigan Athletic as an 18-year-old, since blossoming into one of the most distinguished full-backs in world football.
Is Reece James the best right-back in the Premier League?
The likes of Joao Cancelo, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Achraf Hakimi spring to mind when considering the foremost players of the marauding position, each possessing their own version of prowess, but not one holds the level of dynamic destructibility as James, superlative from both an offensive and defensive standpoint.
Having made 140 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 11 goals and providing 20 assists, the “unbelievable” gem – as hailed by team-mate Trevor Chalobah – now boasts a towering market value of £89m, according to CIES Football Observatory.
According to FBref, the £250k-per-week dynamo ranks among the top 8% of full-backs in Europe for shot-creating actions, the top 7% for pass completion, the top 7% for progressive passes, the top 7% for successful take-ons and the top 14% for progressive carries, illustrating a prowess across every role imaginable.
To further this claim, WhoScored also record his career defensive statistics at 1.7 tackles and 1.4 clearances per game, with a defensive consistency that leaves him surpassing expectations across yet another role.
Potter must praise the footballing overlords that James weaved through the youth ranks at Chelsea and not elsewhere; it is a testament to just how imperative he is to the Blues’ success that he has remained at the top of the talent list at the club despite the lucrative influx.
And despite his mammoth value, chances of a sale any time soon are slim, to say the least.