Premier League • England

Wesley Fofana: Chelsea do what they hoped to avoid, as Leicester agreement rouses fear history could repeat itself

Leicester centre-back Wesley Fofana

Chelsea have struck an agreement to finally sign Leicester centre-back Wesley Fofana, though the deal has forced them into an action they’d hoped to avoid, per reports.

The Blues have already added Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella to their defensive ranks this summer. However, given Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri and Levi Colwill have all departed, the arrivals weren’t likely to end there.

Indeed, Fofana was the third defensive signing Thomas Tuchel has been chasing. Leicester had publicly insisted the 21-year-old Frenchman wasn’t for sale, but the cracks were beginning to show.

Fofana was left out of the Foxes 2-1 defeat to Southampton last week after skipping a day of training. Manager Brendan Rodgers made him train with the Under-23s as a result, and pre-emptively ruled him out of Leicester’s fixture this weekend too, ironically against Chelsea.

Fofana had an agreement over personal terms with Chelsea in place and the belief was Leicester would sell if a world record bid for a defender was tabled.

That particular honour current belongs to Harry Maguire who cost Man Utd £80m in 2019.

Chelsea feared Harry Maguire repeat

CBS Sports reporter, Ben Jacobs, previously revealed Chelsea were hesitant about making Fofana the world’s most expensive defender.

That moniker brings far greater scrutiny, something Maguire found out first hand and quickly began to wilt under at Old Trafford.

Chelsea were reluctant to place that kind of unnecessary pressure on a 21-year-old, though it seems Leicester forced their hand.

RMC Sport were the first to report Chelsea have finally found common ground with Leicester. The Athletic reaffirmed their reporting, noting a verbal agreement is now in place.

Fabrizio Romano echoed those sentiments, tweeting the saga is ‘finally set to be completed’ following Chelsea’s bid on Friday afternoon.

RMC Sport claimed the fee in question could be worth a ‘record sum’ for a defender. The Evening Standard put the initial fee Leicester will receive at £70m, though claimed it could break the £80m mark if all add-ons are met.

As such, Fofana will effectively now be the world’s most expensive defender once his move crosses the line.

Chelsea hunting two more deals after Fofana

Barring any late hiccups, Fofana will become a Chelsea player in the coming days. However, the arrivals aren’t likely to end there.

Sky Sports reporter, Kaveh Solhekol, claimed moves for Anthony Gordon and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also in the pipeline.

Regarding Gordon, Chelsea have already seen a £40m bid rejected, with Everton believed to value the flyer around the £60m mark.

However, speaking to Sky Sports on Friday, Toffees boss Frank Lampard delivered an update that will make Todd Boehly recoil.

When discussing some of the finest young talent he has coached, Lampard hinted at Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount when claiming they’re now worth £100m+. Lampard reckons Gordon is also a £100m player, and for now at least, isn’t entertaining the idea of losing him any time soon.

“I can’t put a number on his value to the club,” said Lampard. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with fantastic young players at Derby and Chelsea, seen them develop and become England internationals and Champions League winners, worth triple figures (£100m+) in terms of their personal values.

“Anthony is in that bracket, he’s been a pleasure to work with and he’s ours. He’s an Everton boy, he plays for us and the crowd relate to him.”