Chelsea have identified a suitable replacement for Reece James, valued at £115 million, who isn’t Malo Gusto

Chelsea have identified a suitable replacement for Reece James, valued at £115 million, who isn’t Malo Gusto

Reece James, Chelsea’s new captain, sustained a fresh hamstring injury within the first week of the new Premier League season. During their opening match against Liverpool, he was substituted for Malo Gusto in the second half, leading to speculation about the reasons behind the substitution.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino clarified in the post-match press conference that James was substituted due to fatigue from preseason minutes and to avoid the risk of a recurrence of the long-term knee injury he suffered last season. This injury had caused him to miss out on the World Cup squad in December.

Despite Pochettino’s reassurances, reports suggest that James will once again be sidelined, with Ben Chilwell holding the captain’s armband temporarily.

As a result, the club is left with only one dedicated right-back, Malo Gusto, who was signed from Lyon in the January transfer window but loaned back until summer.

While some view this as Gusto’s opportunity to gain Premier League experience after performing well in preseason matches against Brighton, Wrexham, and Newcastle, there are concerns about thrusting a 20-year-old with no prior top-flight English experience into such a crucial role.

An alternative option emerges in the form of Moises Caicedo, the £115 million signing. Despite being primarily a defensive midfielder, he is versatile and capable of playing various positions, including right-back.

Caicedo has Premier League experience as a right-back, having made three appearances in this position for Brighton against strong opponents like Manchester United, Arsenal, and Newcastle. His performances resulted in two wins with clean sheets and one loss.

In a previous match against Marcus Rashford, Caicedo adapted to the right-back role successfully, despite it being unfamiliar to him. His readiness to step up when needed and his versatility have been praised by his former manager Roberto De Zerbi.

This suggests that Chelsea has an alternative solution to the right-back issue with Moises Caicedo, who can fill in for Reece James and provide defensive stability.

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