Newcastle United target Reece James was in incredible form on Tuesday night when he came off the bench to help Chelsea earn a 4-4 draw against Ajax in the Champions League.
The Sun reported last month that Steve Bruce was plotting a swoop to sign James, 19, on loan in the January transfer window and based on his latest display for Chelsea, the right-back would be a super acquisition at St James’ Park.
James scored the equalising goal with an exquisite finish in what was a truly pulsating showdown between the two former European champions at Stamford Bridge.
The former Wigan loanee came off the bench to replace Marcos Alonso at half-time and made one massive impact to help Frank Lampard’s side salvage a point out of what looked like a certain defeat.
According to stats by WhoScored, James completed 95 per cent of his passes, made one key pass, completed two crosses and won two aerial duels during his 45 minutes on the pitch.
James also fired three shots at goal and only Tammy Abraham and Jorginho – both of whom started – had more attempts than the marauding right-back.
BT Sport’s pundits were full of praise for the England youth international after the match, with Joe Cole comparing him to Manchester United legend David Beckham.
“When I was playing in America, I came around to train with youths and Reece was in it,” said Cole, as shown via Football on BT Sport’s official Twitter account.
“We were doing a crossing and finishing session and you know with young players, sometimes their technique can get a little bit erratic at times, but he was on the money, on the money, whipping crosses, it was like watching Beckham – the very best of crosses from the right.”
Gary Lineker then added: “His performance when he came on, a lot of the balls he whipped in were reminiscent of Trent Alexander Arnold, that kind of whipped delivery.”
If you look at the Newcastle squad now you can see that Bruce already has three right-backs to choose from.
However James is a massive upgrade on the likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Javier Manquillo and summer signing Emil Krafth, who has really struggled since his switch to Tyneside from Amiens.
Manquillo is also set to be released in 2020 when his contract ends [Daily Star] so there is a good chance Newcastle will try to cash in on the Spaniard in January to try and cut their losses.
If the Magpies can get James in on loan – and that is a big if – it would be a stunning addition to the squad by Bruce.