Leicester head coach Brendan Rodgers has told Chelsea that transfer target Wesley Fofana will join a big club – but not just yet. It will come as bad news to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel who is desperate to sign centre-backs before the end of the summer transfer window but looks set to be denied Fofana just as he was other top targets Matthijs de Ligt and Jules Kounde.
Chelsea failed in their pursuit of defender Kounde, who has joined Barcelona from Sevilla, while De Ligt instead joined Bayern Munich. Kalidou Koulibaly is the club’s only defensive reinforcement despite Tuchel losing Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger at the end of last season, while Cesar Azpilicueta may yet join Barca too.
France U21 international Fofana is apparently on Chelsea’s list of alternative targets. The Leicester man returned from a broken leg in March and performed well for the remainder of the Premier League season. Before his injury, Fofana had earned a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising defenders.
But Rodgers is adamant that the 21-year-old will be a Leicester player when the transfer window slams shut on September 1. The Northern Irishman – a former coach at Stamford Bridge – did insist that Fofana will one day play for one of Europe’s top clubs.
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“I’ve no doubt that in the future he’ll be on that highest stage but he’s very comfortable and he feels good here,” Rodgers said. “He has a great relationship with his team-mates which is important and there’s no doubt he will grace that stage. But for now he’s here, he’s developing and like I said he’s not for sale.
“He’s maybe got an opportunity to get himself in the France squad for the World Cup and for that it’s about playing, so I’m pretty calm on it.” Fofana signed a new five-year contract in March.
Rodgers believes that the player is happy at the King Power Stadium – but offered a glowing reference to interested clubs. “It’s natural, you’ve got a big talent and he was happy enough to sign that. There is going to be interest in him, that’s the point,” he continued.
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“He is very powerful. See him in the air, he is very dominant, wins his headers. He reads the game so well and the top defenders do that. Add to that he is super quick and covers the ground fast. I could be his agent couldn’t I? He’s a top player.”
Leicester will hope to avoid a mass exodus of some of their key players. Wide-ranging reports suggest that the Foxes need to sell before they can enter the summer market, having failed to make a senior signing.
Attacking midfielder James Maddison is the subject of repeated bids from Newcastle. Youri Tielemans – who has just 12 months remaining on his contract – has been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.