Cesar Azpilicueta's woeful start to 2019/20 could see him replaced by 19-year-old Reece James in Chelsea's defence, with Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao poised to take advantage if he is axed.
Despite being one of the Blues' most reliable performers during his seven-year stay in west London, new manager Frank Lampard has been far from impressed with the Spaniard's displays this term. Should the fullback continue to struggle, his coach could hand an opportunity to one of the club's brightest prospects in James.
According to the Express, both Sociedad and Bilbao are keen to bring Azpilicueta back to his home country, with the pair boosted by news of Lampard's disappointment.
Since switching from Derby County, the Chelsea legend has shown a willingness to put faith in youth and could turn to James should his first-choice right-back fail to improve.
The teenager is nearing full fitness following after undergoing ankle surgery in July and could be thrown into the deep end once his recovery is complete.
Fellow academy graduates Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham have been shining lights in a testing start for Lampard at Stamford Bridge, whilst Fikayo Tomori has also been afforded game-time.
The Blues have won just one of their five fixtures this season, a 3-2 victory away to Norwich City. Prior to the triumph at Carrow Road, the side were thumped 4-0 by Manchester United.
Azpilicueta came in for particularly heavy criticism after Saturday's collapse at home to Sheffield United, a match the team drew 2-2 despite a two-goal lead at the break.