Premier League • England

Chelsea play waiting game as strategy formed for one of three targets

Samuel Bannister
Wesley Fofana Leicester

Chelsea have firmed up their plans to replace two players who could be on their way out next year by targeting Wesley Fofana of Leicester City.

Chelsea’s defence could be about to undergo an evolution. Four of Thomas Tuchel’s most trusted centre-backs are out of contract in 2022. Any of Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen could have left before next season.

It is a growing concern that the club are hoping to work around. However, their hopes of keeping Rudiger in particular are ever fading. Christensen has also been in a stalemate over his future.

Azpilicueta and Silva, meanwhile, are both in their 30s. Their long-term futures remain unclear despite their obvious importance for Tuchel.

There remains a chance that some of the quartet could stay. But it seems unlikely that all will, meaning reinforcements will be required.

Chelsea were already aware of this when they tried to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla in the summer. A dispute over his asking price caused the deal to collapse, though.

Kounde remains on their radar for 2022, but another option that Goal remind is under consideration is Wesley Fofana.

Fofana has proven himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Premier League during his time with Leicester City. They are currently without him due to a serious injury.

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The Chelsea man is out of contract at the end of this season, as is captain Azpilicueta.

According to Goal, Chelsea will be keeping a close eye on him when he returns. It is possible that Fofana will be back in action next month, or shortly after.

Chelsea scouts already think highly of the 20-year-old. They will now wait to see how his form has been affected by his setback.

Should he get back to the standards he was at before, Chelsea will consider a big-money move for him. They will be waiting until the summer, rather than January, though.

Leicester still have Fofana under contract until 2025 and are under no pressure to sell. However, they will need to reflect Fofana’s ambitions if they are to keep him in the long-term.

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Chelsea have Wesley Fofana alternatives

Only time will tell whether Fofana can rediscover his pre-injury form and whether Chelsea would be able to agree with Leicester over his valuation.

If neither factor works out, Chelsea will have to think about other options. The report names two alternatives they are still considering.

The first is Kounde, who has shaken off the disappointment of missing out on a summer transfer to become important for Sevilla again.

The other is Matthijs De Ligt of Juventus. It remains to be seen when he will dislodge Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci from the Serie A side’s starting lineup, although he has been given plenty of trust over the past couple of years.

Juve would not be against selling De Ligt due to his high salary. Chelsea have been offered his services and could be receptive.

Either way, it seems Chelsea are looking for a young but already senior defender who could hold down their backline for years to come.

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