Leicester have instantly rejected Chelsea’s second offer for star defender Wesley Fofana, with the Foxes standing by their mantra that the Frenchman is simply not for sale.
The Blues are looking for defensive reinforcements this summer with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen departing. And while Kalidou Koulibaly has been brought in for £34m, the Blues remain intent on signing another centre-half. To that end, Fofana has emerged as their No 1 target after links to Jules Kounde, Nathan Ake and Matthijs de Ligt ultimately failed.
However, they retain a strong belief that a deal for Fofana can be struck. The Foxes find themselves in a difficult situation this summer with funds reportedly tight. As such, a number of their stars at the subject of plenty of transfer speculation.
Indeed, Kasper Schmeichel is the first player there to move on, signing for Nice to bring an end to his 11-year stay.
But Leicester also face a fight to retain James Maddison’s services with Newcastle pushing hard to sign him. Youri Tielemans also looks to be heading out the exit door with just a year left on his deal.
Leicester, though, will not let Fofana go easily. Boss Brendan Rodgers is maintaining a strong stance that the player is not for sale.
And having rejected Chelsea’s opening bid worth £62m rebuffed, Rodgers set out his stall and both Fofana and Maddison.
“These players are not for sale,” he said. “We need to move players out but it’s not getting rid of everyone and certainly not our best assets.
“It’s something the club are very strong on. James and Wesley are training very well and working hard for our game on Sunday.”
Chelsea see second Wesley Fofana offer fail
That said, Chelsea remain determined to bring Fofana to Stamford Bridge.
That said, the Blues have now seen a second offer for the player rejected. As per Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea’s second offer was ‘in excess of £70m’ – and at least £8m higher than their original offer.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, however, is undeterred. The Blues owner is now planning to raise that bid further in a bid to twist Leicester’s arm. And a report earlier this week suggested Leicester’s breaking point is £85m – which would amount to a world-record fee for a defender.
Furthermore, Chelsea have a strong belief that Fofana himself is keen on the move.
Per Romano, the player is 100% keen on the move. That ties in with three significant hints the player made about his wish to leave Leicester earlier this week.
A move to Stamford Bridge will grant the 21-year-old the chance to play Champions League football. Chelsea are also reportedly willing to pay him £200,000 a week – significantly more than the current package he earns at Leicester.
Just how high can Chelsea go for Fofana?
The Blues are seemingly dead set on doing whatever it takes to bring the player to the club.
Knowing he wants to quit Leicester will certainly work in their favour too. After all, what club wants to keep an unhappy player, particularly one who is valued so highly.
Truth be told, it is highly likely Chelsea will get their man. The Foxes are very good at playing the transfer market, having taken a similar stance both with Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell. On both occasions, Leicester insisted they weren’t for sale; on both occasions the two players ended up leaving the same window for major transfer fees.
Indeed, the £80m Manchester United spent to sign Maguire remains a world-record fee for a defender to this day.
There will come a point though that Chelsea won’t go higher. They will hope a third bid, which may well match the £80m Leicester received for Maguire, is the deal that does the trick.
Chelsea and Manchester United lead the race for Wesley Fofana
Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana could be on the move this summer for £65m with Chelsea and Manchester United leading the race
Thomas Tuchel will also hope that a three-man backline of Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and veteran Thiago Silva will solidify Chelsea’s rearguard.
And with Marc Cucurella signing in a huge deal to play as left wing-back, Chelsea have shown they mean business this summer.
On the subject of Cucurella, the signing has been analysed by Gary Neville, who admits to being “shocked” by the deal.