Chelsea star Reece James has responded to reports linking team-mate Mason Mount with a transfer to Premier League rivals Manchester United. The England international has joined Mount and Ben Chilwell at the Formula 1 Barcelona Grand Prix this weekend as players begin to enjoy their holidays away from the pitch.
The two-time Chelsea player of the season is entering the final 12 months of his current deal at Stamford Bridge with talks over a renewal proving unsuccessful so far - with United now leading the race to sign Mount this summer. A source told football.london that just before the FIFA World Cup that took place last year, the 24-year-old midfielder was optimistic an agreement over a new deal could be reached.
However, with a new-look transfer team in place at Chelsea following the World Cup, the offer presented to Mount and his entourage was no longer on the table upon his return to west London. Whilst Erik ten Hag's side are yet to make an official offer for the Blues midfielder, senior figures at United have begun discussions with Chelsea and made clear their desire to sign the England international.
A report from The Times has stated that insiders at the west London outfit say salary and bonuses proved to be the major sticking point in negotiations over a new contract for Mount. There have been three offers that would have increased the Cobham graduate's pay to be in line with the highest earners at the club.
James has now responded to rumours suggesting Mount could leave the Blues this summer. Speaking to Sky Sports, the 23-year-old said: "Of course, if he [Mount] goes, everyone will be sad to see him go."
Chiwell was also asked about the possibility of Mount leaving Chelsea this summer, to which he responded: "It's none of my business personally, but I'd love him to stay. He's my best mate, so personally I'd love him to stay but it's none of my business."
It's looking increasingly unlikely that Mount will stay at Stamford Bridge next season despite Mauricio Pochettino's desire to keep hold of the England international. Liverpool and Arsenal remain in the race to sign the 24-year-old, but a move to Old Trafford is the most likely outcome at present.