Chelsea have announced the Wesley Fofana transfer from Leicester – and they have managed to get the deal done for lower than the fee Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire.
The Blues have been on Fofana’s trail for several weeks now, the player becoming their No 1 target over the second half of the transfer window. Indeed, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen departing, the Blues now have finalised their new-look defence. And Fofana will go into their central defensive pool alongside fellow new boy Kalidou Koulibaly. Veteran defender Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah complete their options.
Having chased Fofana for so long, Blues owner Todd Boehly will no doubt be delighted to have finalised his signing. The Blues saw three bids rejected before finally having a fourth offer accepted.
However, amid claims it would take a world-record fee to convince Leicester to sell, it seems an agreement has been struck for less than initially feared.
To that end, Chelsea will pay Leicester a maximum of £74.25m for Fofana – some £4.5m less than United signed Maguire.
The two clubs have agreed a payment structure over the terms of his contract, which will reach £70m. The rest of the £5m will be paid in various bonuses.
The Frenchman has signed a colossal seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge, earning himself a huge payrise in the process.
The 21-year-old has used his first interview to explain why he was so desperate to make the move from Leicester.
“The two last days have been really big days for me and I’m very happy. I trained this morning with the team and it’s a dream for me. I’m very excited to start playing games for the fans and the club,” he told the club’s official website.
Wesley Fofana transfer delights Todd Boehly
Fofana continued: “I’m here to win trophies – the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, everything. I came here to win and the club is built to win trophies so I’m here to continue that.”
Fofana is regarded as one of the best young defenders in the Premier League. Indeed, one of his finest games for the club came in the 2021 FA Cup final as Leicester beat the Blues. It was then, that Thomas Tuchel apparently earmarked him as a top target.
And while he was deemed untouchable from a Leicester City point of view, Boehly was determined and is understandably thrilled to get the deal over the line.
“Wesley is a hugely promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age,” he said. “We are delighted we were able to bring one of Europe’s most exciting talents to Chelsea and further strengthen that area of our squad, both for this season and many more to come.”
The deal for Fofana takes Chelsea’s summer spending through the £242m barrier.
Behdad Eghbali and Jose E. Feliciano, co-controlling owners of the Blues, also had their say.
“We continue to build for success and a bright long-term future for Chelsea, and Wesley fits our vision perfectly. He is a player who can make an impact on the squad immediately, while at his age he will only improve further going forward.
“We are excited to see what he can achieve at Chelsea.”
The Blues, meanwhile, will continue talks over a deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His signing, however, appears complicated by a horrific injury sustained during a burglary on his home.