Everton could go into next season with only Seamus Coleman at right-back. Mason Holgate can provide backup in a makeshift role, but Marco Silva plans to use the 22-year-old as a centre-back in 2019/20.
This means Everton will scour the transfer market for cover, but Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo says the Toffees may have already identified a target – Reece James of Chelsea.
The 19-year-old has yet to make his senior debut for the Londoners but is expected to feature in 2019/20 after a breakthrough campaign at Wigan Athletic (July 1, 2018 – May 31, 2019). James shone on loan with the Latics last season and has subsequently attracted interest from a number of clubs.
The England u20 international made 45 Championship appearances in 2018/19, scoring and creating six goals. James created 74 chances, won 84 aerial duels (52%), averaged 37 passes-per-game with 72% accuracy and made 47 successful dribbles (76%).
He whipped in 264 crosses with 28% accuracy, blocked 58 passes/crosses/shots, made 105 clearances and averaged a tackle (94) or interception (41) every 29 minutes. James was named Wigan Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year for 2018/19 too.
It’s not hard to see why Everton are keeping tabs on the teenager, but they may be unsuccessful in their pursuit. Chelsea are currently under a transfer ban which will force them to use academy talent to fill positions. James could finally make his debut and may not be granted a departure as a result.