Chelsea’s U-turn puts previously untouchable player on the chopping block in football.

Chelsea star Reece James is reportedly no longer considered ‘untouchable’ in the transfer market. It has been claimed that the Blues could listen to ‘big offers’ for the defender as efforts need to be made to balance the books at Stamford Bridge despite the departures of several players over the last year. James has scarcely featured this season due to a succession of injuries, with a hamstring problem likely to keep the 24-year-old sidelined for the next two months.

He has only played in eight Premier League matches this season, with Chelsea struggling in his absence. Reports suggest that right-back James could leave if a major proposal is received. According to Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips, the west Londoners could listen to mammoth offers for James if they are received.

Selling academy graduates is helping the club attempt to navigate Financial Fair Play and profit and sustainability regulations. Any money received for academy players counts as ‘pure profit’ on a club’s accounts, helping to strike off expenditure. It is why Chelsea have prioritised selling players who have progressed through their youth ranks in recent years, although it has not been an entirely popular choice with supporters.

Newcastle have an option to make Lewis Hall’s loan deal permanent. Chelsea also attempted to sell Armando Broja on a permanent basis in January, while a suitable offer for midfielder Conor Gallagher would have been listened to. Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost 4-2 to Wolves on Sunday, condemning them to 11th place in the Premier League and a 10th top-flight defeat of the season.

Pochettino accepted that his job is not safe, although he is likely to be given the chance to defeat Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth round replay, and then Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

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