But after breaking onto the scene this year at Stamford Bridge, James is being tipped to challenge his peers.
"When you talk about Alexander-Arnold I'm excited about him and the way he plays," Melchiot said to 888Sport.
"He switches the play really comfortably. Wan-Bissaka is more defensive. But Reece James has the ability, he has the strength.
"He has the speed to keep up with people, and he knows how to work it.
"There are still a couple of things he needs to add to his game but if he can become a regular with Chelsea he can compete with those two guys and why wouldn't he want to do that? That's why we play football – to compete with the best."