James is one of the best full-backs in Europe
Chelsea right-back Reece James suffered yet another injury blow this season which ruled him out of their home win against West Ham United.
James has been one of the Blues’ most reliable and effective players this season, but injuries haven’t been quite fair to the young star.
The 22-year-old defender is pivotal to Thomas Tuchel’s 3-man defense system at Stamford bridge, as he offers a lot as a wing-back.
His versatilty has also seen him deployed in other positions such as right-centre-back, left-wing-back, and even in the midfield.
However, judging by his recent injury record, which has seen him miss some games, it is important for the London side to make plans for a suitable back-up for next season.
This article will thus be looking at suitable back-up options for James next season. Here are three good candidates.
#1 Leo Dubois (Lyon)
Dubois is the current captain of Lyon
The French star is arguably one of the most underrated right-backs in France and could be a decent signing to provide back-up for James. The Lyon captain is a very experienced defender who could add some defensive stability to the Chelsea team.
He can also play as a central midfielder, which attests to his versatility as a player, just like James.
Dubois may not have much of an attacking threat like James. But he isn’t bad defensively and has helped Lyon keep eight cleensheets in 27 games across competitions, conceding just 24 goals.
#2 Sergino Dest (Barcelona)
Dest is a talented young defender
Another player who could be a very decent back-up to James is out of favor Barcelona young star Sergino Dest. The 21-year-old American defender was initially linked with a surprise move to Stamford Bridge in January but a deal never materialized.
Dest is a very pacy and energetic full-back who possesses much of an attacking threat against opposition teams.
Although his defensive attributes have, most of the time, been called into question, he will definitely improve under Tuchel if given the opportunity.
Dest has played 30 times for Barcelona this season across competitions, and has helped in keeping three clean sheets for them. He also scored a goal for his national team during the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
#3 Tino Livramento (Southampton)
Livramento has been outstanding for Southampton this season
The former Chelsea star is another player who would be the perfect like-for-like option to operate as a back-up for James.
Livramento left the Blues last summer in a bid to secure first-team football, and Chelsea are no doubt regretting letting the young star leave.
Although Chelsea have a buy-back clause in place to re-sign Livramento from Southampton, it can only be effective from 2023.
The 19-year-old has amassed a total of 32 appearances for Southampton this season from all competitions, scoring one goal and providing a further assist.