Chelsea look to have secured their man following their prolonged pursuit of French defender Wesley Fofana after agreeing a near-world record fee with Leicester City for the uncapped 21-year-old.
Thomas Tuchel’s team had aggressively pursued Fofana after losing starting center backs Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, but had been rebuffed in their attempts to sign a host of the continent’s top defensive talent.
But after coming up short in their moves for the likes of Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Nathan Ake, the Premier League side look to be on the verge of inking a deal with the prodigiously talented Fofana in what could become a world record fee for a defender.
Chelsea had two bids rejected for Frenchman but look to have succeeded with a third offer understood to be in the region of £75 million ($85.5 million); a development which comes after Fofana reportedly told Leicester City of his desire to leave the club.
Add-ons to the deal could make the value eclipse the current most expensive defender in history, Harry Maguire, following his 2019 move from Leicester to Manchester United.
Fofana had been left out of the side for last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against Southampton after informing manager Brendan Rodgers that he did not wish to play in the game – with Rodgers later telling the media that Fofana was not “in the right frame of mind” to be selected.
“I mentioned in the week about coming into a Premier League game and maybe one or two players not being in the right frame of mind, you can’t carry them and certainly we can’t,” Rodgers said in comments to NBC.
“So that’s the reason for the change.”
Fofana is expected to sign a six-year deal at Stamford Bridge after appearing in just 37 games for Leicester since moving to the Premier League from French side Saint-Etienne.
His impending signing comes amid a frantic few weeks in the transfer market for Chelsea under the stewardship of new owner Todd Boehly, who succeeded Roman Abramovich in the boardroom in May.
The club have already completed the signings of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, as well as a host of young talent. They are also tipped to complete the signing of the gifted young Russian playmaker Arsen Zakharyan in the coming days.
Fofana, meanwhile, has been heralded as perhaps the best young defender in the world by football pundit (and noted Leicester fan) Gary Lineker.
Writing on Twitter, the former England international striker said: “Gutted to lose him but wish [Wesley Fofana] well. Every player wants to play Champions League football so it’s understandable. Chelsea fans, you’ve got the most prodigiously talented young central defender in the world. Yes, I believe he’s that good.”
You can share this story on social media: