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Chelsea step up £8m Josip Juranovic chase after latest Reece James injury headache | Football | Sport

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Chelsea will step up their chase of Celtic’s Josip Juranovic with Reece James ruled out until February. The Croatian right-back has long been on the Stamford Bridge radar even before his impressive showing on the World Cup and might be brought south of the border for as little as £8million.

The 27-year-old is under contract until 2026, but cost the Scottish club just £2.5m when he joined them 18 months ago. It is smart for Chelsea to attempt to bring him in in the beginning of the January window with James suffering a setback to his knee injury on Tuesday.

Celtic have already got signed CF Montreal’s Alistair Johnston as a substitute. Chelsea’s latest owners are determined to get probably the most out of only their second transfer window of their tenure with long-term recruitment very much to the forefront.

19-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder is ready to sign a five-year contract in a £20m deal while Ivory Coast striker David Datro Fofana of Molde is near an identical £8.6m move. Each players would return to their current clubs for the rest of the season as a part of the moves.

James received a timely injury boost just hours after describing 2022 because the “hardest 12 months thus far”. Fears that further damage to the knee he injured in October could rule him out for many of the remainder of the season proved unfounded once the outcomes of scans were assessed.

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An announcement released by Chelsea the afternoon following the sport said: “Defender Reece James underwent assessment earlier today after being substituted through the second half of last night’s 2-0 Premier League victory over AFC Bournemouth because of a knee injury.

“Scan results have regrettably confirmed a setback for the 23-year-old, with Reece now set to be ruled out for as much as a month.” The negativity of the club’s wording reflects the criticism that they had received within the intervening period over the choice to play James in the primary place.

Definitely James himself seemed at low ebb with what had transpired after the initial injury picked up against AC Milan in a 2-0 win in October had ruled him out of the whole World Cup in Qatar. “2022 has been the hardest 12 months thus far,” he posted on Instagram before medical scans had been assessed.

“I just desired to thanks all for the support this 12 months, none of it has gone unnoticed. It’s naturally affected me mentally, but life is about coping with the hand you’ve been dealt and that’s what I’m currently tryna do.

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“I hope your end of 12 months is full of peace, joy and happiness. Love you all, catch you next 12 months.” His personal fitness trainer James Ralph – who has worked with James and Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for around 18 months – was also furious initially.

After the match, manager Graham Potter had explained that that they had only hoped to get 60 minutes of motion under James’ belt as a part of his recuperation programme, just for disaster to strike from a seemingly innocuous pass just minutes earlier. Nevertheless, Ralph took to his own company’s own Instagram account to precise his exasperation on the set-back.

“I want to bite my tongue despite having a LOT to say,” he posted in a message accompanied with emojis reflecting his frustration. The message was subsequently deleted. A month further on the sidelines could put him in contention for a return within the west London derby on February 3.

The priority, though, is that he would miss league and cup clashes with Manchester City and the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on January 21. But could be up-to-speed to return to the international fold for the March European Championships qualifiers for England.

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