Todd Boehly has already set about ringing the changes at Chelsea, and having now inherited power over the club’s transfers, the new Blues owner has made it a priority to retain a key star
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The American tycoon has already set about putting his stamp on how the West London club will be run, having rung a number of changes behind the scenes. Following the news that club chairman Bruce Buck is stepping down, the Blues have confirmed director and transfer guru Marina Granovskaia will also be heading for the door.
Boehly now appears ready to ramp up plans for a seismic squad shake-up this summer, reportedly promising Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel up to six signings in the current window. While reinforcing the current ranks remains a key objective over the next few months, another pressing priority appears to be addressing the future of star right-back, James.
The England international continued to see his profile soar last season and his emergence as one of the Blues’ stand-out performers is understood to seen him attract plenty of admirers. Among those are Premier League champions City and kings of Europe, Real Madrid.
However, according to the Daily Mail, new owner Boehly has made it his ‘personal mission’ to extinguish the possibility of a potential transfer this summer by ensuring the 22-year-old is tied down to a new deal. Though formal discussions between Chelsea and James are yet to get underway, Boehly has moved to resolve the right-back’s contractual situation.
The US businessman is understood to have privately made clear to James that the club intend to reward him with an improved deal over the next few months. Further discussions are expected to take place once the current transfer window closes at the end of August.
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It is believed James currently earns around £70,000-per-week – a figure agreed upon when he penned his contract two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, the England starlet has gone on to become integral to Tuchel’s plans.
The versatile right-footer, who has also featured in midfielder and a centre-back for the Blues, is expected to be offered fresh terms which will likely see him become one of the club’s highest earners. The defender’s current contract has three years left to run.
City in particular have been credited with showing an interest in James amid Chelsea’s failure to tie him down to a new deal, in part, as a result of the sanctions placed upon the club under previous owner Roman Abramovich by the UK Government. The Premier League champions are thought to have considered James as Kyle Walker’s long-term successor.
Strengthening in defence remains the priority for Chelsea themselves this summer. The Blues have already lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, while uncertainty continues to surround the futures of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcus Alonso.
Following the departure of Granovskaia, Abramovich’s trusted lieutenant who controlled the club’s transfer activity and contractual negotiations, Boehly himself has taken on the position of interim sporting director. The hands-on approach will see him play a key role in recruitment this summer alongside Tuchel.
With regards to defensive targets, Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde continues to be heavily linked while Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is another understood to be on the club’s radar. Boehly is also thought to have personally contacted Leeds United to discuss the possibility of signing winger Raphinha this summer.