Leicester City’s year-long search for a new centre-back could see them turn to Saint-Etienne star Wesley Fofana.
The club haven't signed a central defender on a permanent deal since Harry Maguire departed and because of injuries and suspensions, they face heading into the first Premier League game of the campaign with only one available senior centre-half in Caglar Soyuncu.
Could their growing need for a centre-back see them move for Fofana. Here’s the latest on the Frenchman, and the links to City.
Such is City’s interest in Fofana, L’Equipe say they are ready to bid €25m (£22.5m) for the teenager.
That would eclipse offers that have previously been made by clubs around Europe, but may not be enough to tempt Saint-Etienne to part with their prized asset, with reports suggesting that president Roland Romeyer was hoping for more than the €30m they could potentially receive from William Saliba’s sale to Arsenal.
The reports also suggest they may be tempted if there was more cash up front, if a sell-on clause was included, and if a player went the other way.
Who else is interested?
L’Equipe say Red Bull Salzburg tried to sign Fofana last summer, RB Leipzig and Monaco tested the waters in January, and then AC Milan came in for him this summer, with the highest bid at €20m.
So there is plenty of interest, and that’s before a Spanish quartet of Villarreal, Valencia, Sevilla, and Real Betis are considered, with the four also said to be eyeing Fofana.
Fofana’s social media antics
Fofana has been a name on the lips of City fans for a while, but particularly in the past week after eagle-eyed supporters spotted some curious goings-on on his social media feeds.
Last week, Fofana followed City on Instagram and Twitter, becoming only the second club that he follows on both platforms, after current side Saint-Etienne. A few hours later, he unfollowed City, but it was still long enough to pique the attention of the club’s fans.
Join our new nationwide fantasy league
Do you think you’re a hot hand at Fantasy Premier League? Do you back yourself to play your chips in the right gameweeks, and nail your captain every single time?
Now is your chance to prove it – and win some prizes in the process.
Reach Fantasy Football Live (RFFL) is a brand-new FPL community, which will bring you weekly tips and hints on how to get the very best out of your team from the first kick of the season until the last.
By signing up, you will also be given the code for our exclusive, private league, with the winner receiving:
A 2020/21 replica football shirt of your choice
The inaugural RFFL winner’s trophy and certificate
To enter, simply sign up here. You will then receive an invite code to join the Reach Fantasy Football Live league, where you will be pitted against fellow fans, with the person who comes out on top taking home the prizes at the end of the campaign.
What’s more, you’ll receive a weekly bonus newsletter to help you in your quest to lift the RFFL trophy – and win some cash and kit.
Why City might want him
First of all, City need a centre-back, and want proper competition for Soyuncu and Jonny Evans.
And Fofana ticks a lot of the boxes they might want ticking. Brendan Rodgers likes his centre-backs to defend on the front foot, to be proactive, because if they can step in early, it helps pen opponents into their own halves and keep the pressure on.
So for this, Fofana would need good aerial stats and a high number of interceptions. Last season, in Ligue 1, he was best-ranked among centre-backs for interceptions, while second for aerial duel success.
Plus, he’s only 19, so has a lot of scope for development. He also would not have to be registered in the Premier League squad just yet, and so would free up space for other players.
What has Fofana said
After signing a new contract with Saint-Etienne to 2024 in April, Fofana was asked about interest from overseas.
He said: “It's flattering to know that such clubs are interested in me, come to see me at the stadium, but I leave all that to my agents. I take care of the pitch and nothing else.”
Then asked about the Saliba's journey from Saint-Etienne to Arsenal, Fofana replied: “I don't know if I will have the opportunity to be like William or if I will want to be like him. What is certain is that he made a good choice and that it allowed him to sign for a big club. It might be an idea for me…”
What Puel has said
Yes, the thoughts of Claude Puel are relevant with the former City boss currently in charge at Saint-Etienne.
Puel has been credited with Fofana’s rise to prominence, and so it’s unsurprising that he wants to build his team around him.
He is fed up with French clubs developing players for teams in other countries.
“It is with this type of player that the club can continue to plan for the future,” Puel told L’Equipe. “We will, therefore, do everything to keep our best players.
“I insisted a lot on extending Wesley because it seems essential to see him for a few more seasons with the club that raised him. Afterwards, I am not naive.
“The lifespan of a young person at a French club is not very substantial. Finances have been impacted. The presidents have made a tremendous effort.
“This pandemic gives our project even more consistency. The previous model is not tenable.
“Our football is a laboratory for the other four major championships. Our clubs put the players on the table and say to strangers, “Help yourself!”
“We suffer in the transfer window and we pay for it in the European Cup. We shake up our squads and when they are settled, we are already eliminated.”
link source - Leicester Mercury http://i2-prod.leicestermercury.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/article4499401.ece/ALTERNATES/s458/0_Wesley-Fofanan.jpg