Chelsea are to offer young defender Reece James a new long-term contract, despite the player still having three years left to run on his current deal.

The Independent reports that the Blues are very keen to tie down their best young prospects, with James among those.

James has spent the season on loan at Wigan, where he has thrived in the Championship.

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He is now seen as a player that can seriously challenge Cesar Azpilicueta for a starting spot in the very near future.

The 19-year-old will now be hoping to force his way into the first-team squad next season. He was recently named in the Chelsea squad that flew out to Boston for a friendly against New England Revolution.

With the transfer ban looming, this is another sign towards a change of attitude towards youth players at Stamford Bridge, with those behind the scenes clearly keeping one eye on the future.

Who are the other Chelsea loanees pushing for a first-team spot?