Chelsea face battle to retain services of English right-back

Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Burnley are all said to be chasing Chelsea defender Reece James.

Burnley want to take the youngster on loan next season – and could have the edge over rivals suitors Crystal Palace and Brighton, as the Sun is reporting.

Both the Eagles and the Seagulls are understood to want to buy the right-back after his impressive spell at Wigan Athletic this term.

But the newspaper states Burnley are happy to take the right-back on loan, which could appeal to the Blues who were considering sending him overseas temporarily.

The Clarets are, however, keeping an eye in Derby County’s Jayden Bogle as an alternative to the 19-year-old.

England youth international’s next move could hinge on which of the interested parties maintain their place in Premier League, with all three clubs still involved in the fight for survival.

The report adds that Wigan are eyeing Reece James’ Chelsea teammate Dujon Sterling as a possible replacement, while centre-back Matt Miazga is also believed to be a target for Latics.

Chelsea must be careful when sending the youngster on loan as Maurizio Sarri is not favouring Davide Zappacosta as Cesar Azpilicueta remains club’s first-choice right-back.

The Italian defender is Chelsea captain’s backup, but since the former Torino man is struggling to have regular minutes and could be sold in the coming transfer windows, the Blues must consider keeping Reece James and not letting him leave for the entire season.