Chelsea Reach Verbal Agreement With Leicester City for Wesley Fofana

Wesley Fofana of Leicester City (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Wesley Fofana of Leicester City (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

According to transfer specialist David Ornstein, Chelsea have reached a verbal agreement with Leicester City over the signing of French center-half Wesley Fofana.

This bid is Chelsea’s fourth, having seen an offer of around £60million up-front rejected by Leicester City earlier this week.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers had earlier confirmed Fofana would be unavailable for Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge as well amid speculation over his future. Fofana was absent for the defeat against Southampton as well after the 21-year-old had reportedly missed training sessions.

Rodgers confirmed the player was training with the club’s u23s in the post-match press conference after the game against Stockport in the EFL Cup.

Thomas Tuchel has reiterated his desire of bringing in a competent defender to replace the departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen and Chelsea’s American owner, Todd Boehly, seems determined to provide him with the resources.

The transfer fee is believed to be £70million plus add-ons and a contract extending until 2028. This would make Fofana the most expensive defender signing since Manchester United when they signed Harry Maguire in 2019.

Is Wesley Fofana the ideal center half for Chelsea?

Fofana previously played for French club St. Etienne where he was utilized as a defensive midfielder.

St. Etienne managed to hold onto the French sensation for another season in the hopes of getting a higher fee. West Ham and Leicester were reportedly the two clubs in for him and eventually, the then 19-year-old chose the Foxes for a club-record fee of £36million.

Manchester United were also linked to the French defender last season but a deal never came to fruition.

Rudiger and Christensen left the Blues this summer to join Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. Kurt Zouma had also joined West Ham in the previous season, which has left a gaping hole in Chelsea’s defense.

In retaliation, Chelsea have gone out and signed Senegalese center half, Kalidou Koulibaly, from Napoli. They have also got veteran Thiago Silva among their ranks, who has been a crucial player for them.

Standing 6’3” and weighing 81 kg, Fofana has shown that he can handle the physicality of the Premier League pretty well.

A hybrid of an old-school and modern-day defender, the 21-year-old impresses whenever he plays. His long strides allow him to recover quickly on the counterattack and stick a foot in to win possession, and he isn’t afraid to go to ground to win a duel.

In his debut season in the Premier League, Jan Bednarek from Southampton was the only center-back to make more interceptions than the Frenchman (61).

Despite being fairly unestablished at the senior level, he has developed a knack for sniffing out danger and winning the ball before the pass can reach the opposing forward. His ability to anticipate and prevent the opponent’s action has allowed him to flourish in the fast-paced Premier League.

The most impressive ability is his movement off the ball, whether to mark opponents, compensating for his mistakes with timely interventions, intercept way-ward passes, and tracking long balls.

Leicester missed Fofana gravely during his time on the sidelines last season. In the seven league matches that the Frenchman played, the Foxes took 1.43 points per game and conceded just one goal per game. When he was absent, they earned only 1.35 points per game and conceded 1.68 goals per game.

It is therefore clear that the Foxes need an ideal replacement for the French defender. Preferably a much more experienced one. Leicester fans have labeled Fofana ‘a disgrace’ with the way he’s handled the situation.

More. Premier League Clubs Results in the EFL Cup. light

Either way, hopefully, most of the drama is now behind us in this situation. It’s a massive transfer, both financially and in terms of sporting implications, and hopefully, Fofana lives up to or perhaps even exceeds every expectation with his new club.