Chelsea fear Reece James will be out for months with a hamstring injury | chelsea

Chelsea fear Reece James could be out for months with a hamstring injury suffered in training. The new captain is awaiting confirmation of the extent of the problem, but he would feel terrible and a long absence would be a major setback for the club.

The injury has disrupted Chelsea’s preparations for Sunday’s Premier League game at West Ham and will have ramifications far beyond unless the test results are more positive than expected.

Chelsea have Malo Gusto to replace James at right-back. The 20-year-old arrived from Lyon in the summer and made his debut as a substitute for James in the opener against Liverpool.

James could become the third Chelsea player, after Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku, to suffer a long-term injury. Hamstring injuries can range in severity from weeks to months, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne potentially until the new year with the hamstring injury he suffered at Burnley last Friday.

Chelsea’s transfer target has been to add attacking players and they have added Brennan Johnson to their target list and held initial talks with Nottingham Forest on a move for the winger.

It’s been a busy summer for Chelsea, whose quest to balance the books will likely see them agree to sell 18-year-old left-back Lewis Hall to Newcastle for an initial fee of £28million, and Johnson is the one of several offensives. players on their shortlist.

Chelsea is supposed to have activated Michael Olise’s £35m release clause but on Thursday the winger committed his future to Crystal Palace, sign a new agreement until 2027. Palace are unhappy with the way Olise was approached by Chelsea, who insist their behavior has been beyond reproach.

Talks about Johnson are at an early stage. The possibility of including players as part of a deal for the versatile Wales international has been discussed with Forest, who value the 22-year-old at around £45million. Johnson, who is also interested in Tottenham and West Ham, was key in winning Forest promotion from the Championship in 2022 and he helped them stay in the Premier League by scoring eight goals last season.

Brennan Johnson in action for Nottingham Forest at Arsenal.
Brennan Johnson (left) is valued by Nottingham Forest at around £45million. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Should Johnson join Chelsea, he would compete with Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke for a starting spot. Mauricio Pochettino wants more depth after losing French striker Christopher Nkunku to a long-term knee injury and Johnson fits the strategy of targeting younger players.

Chelsea spent big again this summer and broke the UK transfer record for the second time this year by signing the Ecuadorian midfielder. Moises Caicedo of Brighton for £115m this week. They are preparing to announce the £58million Southampton midfielder signing Romeo Lavia.

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Spending under the ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital is nearing the £1billion mark, increasing pressure to sell players. Hall is expected to leave weeks after being offered a new six-year contract, with the option of an additional year. The teenager was originally set to join Palace on a season-long loan but is instead cleared to move to Newcastle on a permanent basis.

The decision to sell another academy product will be a disappointment for fans who have seen Mason Mount Leave this summer. Hall, an England Under-21 international, is a fine prospect and impressed in his appearances last season. Able to play at left-back or central midfield, he is an exciting dribbler and will give Eddie Howe more options as he plots Newcastle’s Champions League campaign.

Hall will likely have more opportunities at Newcastle. The left-back is behind Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella at Chelsea, who are also in talks with Ian Maatsen over a new deal. Maatsen, a 21-year-old left-back, is wanted by West Ham.

Questions have been raised over how Chelsea can comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, but the sale of academy products helps their position as the money received goes down the accounts as pure profit. Chelsea could also sell Conor Gallagher, Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is set to move to Fulham.

Thirteen players have left this summer and Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech is set to leave. join Galatasaray. Chelsea are looking for a buyer for Romelu Lukaku.

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