Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have prioritised signing a new right-back in the summer after Ashley Young’s downward spiral in form coupled with the imminent departure of club captain Antonio Valencia.
The England U20 international signed a new four-year deal with Chelsea last summer, however, The Independent understands United are hopeful that the prospect of reuniting James with his sister, Lauren, can aid in their pursuit.
James’ 17-year-old sister joined United from Arsenal last year and scored 13 goals in 16 games in the Women’s Championship, spearheading the club to promotion, and was called into England’s U19 squad.
James was selected in the Championship team of the year after a standout season with the relegation strugglers, featuring in every league game and producing recent man-of-the-match displays against Bristol City and Leeds.
Chelsea are keen for the versatile teenager – who can also play in central midfield – to return as part of the first-team next season, with the player seen as having a long-term future at the club and back-up right-back Davide Zappacosta expected to leave for Italy in the summer.
But immediate playing opportunities would still be very limited behind Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta and, after impressing in the Championship, the player is keen for a chance in the top flight.
James previously captained Chelsea’s triumphant youth team that featured Callum Hudson-Odoi, a £40m target for Bayern Munich, and Jonathan Panzo, now of Monaco, to back-to-back U18 Premier League and Youth Cup titles.
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