Reece James: 3 Chelsea Players Who Can Replace Injured Captain After Successful Surgery

Reece James: 3 Chelsea Players Who Can Replace Injured Captain After Successful Surgery

Elijah Odetokun
updated at December 23, 2023 at 12:17 PM
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  • Chelsea captain Reece James is set for time on the sidelines after successful surgery
  • James has been dealing with recurring hamstring and knee injuries since his debut
  • Malo Gusto is the natural replacement, but other players can fill the position

Chelsea will be without captain Reece James for about three to four months after undergoing successful surgery in Finland on his recurring hamstring injuries.

James limped off in the first half of the Blues’ 2-0 loss to Everton, and after consultation with specialists, it was decided surgery, which he has been avoiding, is the long-lasting solution.

Reece James, Conor Gallagher, Djordje Petrovic, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Carabao Cup, Stamford Bridge.
Reece James embraces interim captain Conor Gallagher after Chelsea beat Newcastle on penalties to reach the Carabao Cup semi-final. Photo by Jacques Feeney.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at three players in the squad who can deputise in his absence.

Chelsea players who can replace James

1. Malo Gusto

Per Sky Sports, Chelsea paid £26 million to sign the French right-back as James’ backup last January before former captain Cesar Azpilicueta departed in the summer. However, he also has fitness worries and returned to action against Newcastle United.

2. Axel Disasi

The France international defender was signed covertly in the summer. He was immediately slotted into his favourite centre-back position but can and has also played as a right-back in the absence of James and Gusto. His lack of speed and attacking instincts make fans oppose him playing that position.

3. Moises Caicedo

Per BBC Sports, the club paid a British record transfer fee of £115mil for Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton in the summer's biggest transfer. The 21-year-old can also play as a right-back, as previously shown during his time with the Seagulls. The return of Romeo Lavia to full training allows extra legs in midfield, which could push Caicedo to RB.

Left-back Marc Cucurella played as a makeshift RB this season but is also out injured with a foot injury and has an unknown return date, most likely for as long as James.

Pochettino’s team also lacked a natural left-back with Cucurella out and Ben Chilwell in the final stages of his rehabilitation. Academy star Levi Colwill has played in the position the most this season.

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Chelsea pride in Reece James

Sports Brief reported that Chelsea took pride in Reece James after the defender responded to a fan teasing a move to Arsenal for him.

The club’s Twitter was quick to brand him ‘One of our own’, aiming a dig at Arsenal and at Mount, an academy star joining a rival club, Manchester United.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.