Welcome back to Rating the Rumour, which does exactly what it says on the tin. We’ll be taking the biggest transfer rumours related to Premier League teams and rating the likelihood of the moves coming to fruition.
The final rating will be decided based on the potential fit of the player into the rumoured buying club, the need for that club to sign a player for the position played, whether the player is of the level required by the club, whether the club could afford the rumoured price and whether or not the player is even likely to be available for transfer.
We will not factor in the reliability of the rumour, as it would likely cause mass amounts of crying from outlets, journalists and “journalists” who would have to be denounced as spoofers.
With the ground rules laid out, let’s look at Reece James to Manchester City which has been reported by the Manchester Evening News.
In Manchester City’s current set-up, James would be a less than ideal fit. Walker acts more as a central defender in a back three when City play the 3-2-4-1 shape that Guardiola has preferred in the past 18 months, while James’ best attributes require him to play as a fullback or ideally wingback with license to get forward.
What Walker brings to City, more than anything else, is recovery pace and strong 1v1 defensive work. Those are not things that James can replicate.
James would fit well into this City team if played in the midfield 2 alongside Rodri. The Chelsea man played extensively in midfield at Wigan and there is a school of thought that he might be more suited to a midfield role moving forward.
Fit Rating 1/2
Manchester City will need a new right back soon, with Kyle Walker turning 34 next summer and showing signs of defensive decline having already taken a step back going forward. Pep Guardiola has altered Walker’s role though, allowing him to focus more on the defensive side of the game and not asking him to attack as much.
Doing this has helped preserve Walker’s legs and allowed him to retain his speed, which has always been his biggest attribute. They have the highly promising Rico Lewis waiting in the wings though, and Issa Kabore, currently loaned to Luton, is also under contract with City, so it’s not a major priority. It’s unlikely City would bring in a 23 year old to replace Walker and risk blocking the path of Lewis. If they are to add a right back it’s more likely to be an older player or someone that can also play a secondary position.
Need Rating – 0/2
There is no question that Reece James is good enough to play for any team in the world. He is an outstanding player with a fantastic attacking skillset who is rightly regarded as one of the very best players in the world in his position.
Level Rating – 2/2
Manchester City, backed by Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth, can afford to sign any player in the world if they see fit. There’s no problem for them in paying any asking price to get a player if they deem him the right fit.
But it seems unlikely that they would be willing to stump up in excess of £100mil for a player who has missed 61 Premier League games through injury since the beginning of the 2019/20 season.
Affordability Rating – 1/2
James was appointed Chelsea captain before the season began and with Todd Boehly and co intent on returning Chelsea to the top of European football it seems very unlikely that they would even consider a sale.
There might be a logical view to be taken that perhaps they should look to move on a player with James’ injury history but logic rarely plays a role in football.
Availability Rating – 0/2
This is a poor rumour and comes out as a 4/10. It seems like something someone has made up to fill column inches, rather than something with real substance behind it.