Chelsea turn to former Barcelona star as possible Reece James cover

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Chelsea are considering a swoop for Wolves right-back Nelson Semedo as Graham Potter searches for competition and cover for Reece James. The 22-year-old is enduring a spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against AC Milan earlier this month, and Chelsea’s form has taken a hit since.

James has established himself as one of Europe’s most exciting young defenders in recent seasons and was the popular choice to enter the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as England’s first-choice right-wing-back. However, he faces an uphill battle to beat his race for fitness with just over a week left until Gareth Southgate names his final 26-man squad.

Chelsea started Potter’s reign impressively, looking resolute at the back and relentlessly picking up wins in all competitions. But the Blues have triumphed in just one of their last four games, and the forced game of right-wing-back roulette is likely contributing to the sticky patch of results.

Beyond James, Chelsea don’t possess a natural wing-back to provide cover, but Potter could look to fix that in the January transfer window. And according to journalist Simon Phillips, Semedo is an option to arrive at Stamford Bridge and challenge James for a starting berth.

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Semedo has made 75 appearances for Wolves since joining from Barcelona in a £37million deal in 2020. The Portugal international has predominantly featured in a back five under Nuno Espirito Santo and Bruno Lage at Molineux but also has experience playing in a four-man defence.

Semedo, aged 28, is in the prime years of his career and would welcome the opportunity to return to a Champions League club if the opportunity arose. But he has faced injury frustrations of his own as of late, starting just six games this season as he builds up his match fitness after suffering a hamstring problem in the summer.

Potter has recently used an array of Chelsea stars at right-wing-back, from Cesar Azpilicueta to Ruben Loftus-Cheek to even wingers like Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling. So he will be keen to ensure his squad has two natural options to prevent having to continue the current trend of fielding makeshift options.

There will likely be other options on the shortlist, but Semedo’s Premier League experience makes him an enticing prospect. Whether Wolves would be willing to offload him midway through the 2022/23 season remains to be seen, especially given their status in 19th in the Premier League.


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