Chelsea have completed the signing of centre-back Wesley Fofana from Leicester in a deal worth up to £75m.
Chelsea will pay an initial £70m, with a further £5m possible in add-ons, and Fofana has signed a seven-year contract with the club.
Leicester and Chelsea agreed a fee for Fofana on Saturday, with the defender flying to the USA on Monday for his medical.
Fofana said: “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.
“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 later released a statement on his Instagram thanking Leicester fans for their “kindness and your constant support, even in the moments you were led to believe I didn’t respect the club”. Fofana also appeared to criticize Leicester and manager Brendan Rodgers for their handling of the long-running transfer saga.
Fofana added: “I chose not to communicate during this transfer window despite all the criticism and all the often false and misleading comments, even when they were coming from the club.
“I understood and I learned. I didn’t want to damage the image of the institution and I chose to take it rather than answer. I thank Top for his understanding, thanks to the managers, to the coach who has always appreciated me, even if he chose to expose me a lot lately… I got it coach.”
Leicester declined to comment on Fofana’s post when approached by Sky Sports News.
Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly added: “Wesley is a hugely-promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age. 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.”
Chelsea had made three previous bids for Fofana which were all swiftly rejected by Leicester – two in excess of £60m and one believed to be £60m plus £10m in add-ons.
Rodgers confirmed the player had been training with Leicester’s U23 team after failing to turn up to a training session last week, with the Frenchman trying to force a move to Stamford Bridge.
After Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday, Rodgers revealed his intentions to get a quick resolution in the Fofana transfer saga.
“I think it’s the same with any player,” he said. “If they decide they want to move and they see their future elsewhere, it’s always better to have it done as quickly as you possibly can.
“You have to prepare a team and you have to replace that player. It’s only normal – every coach will tell you the same. I don’t think it benefits anyone if it drags on.”
Is Fofana worth £75m?
Sky Sports’ Alan Smith:
“He’s 21, he’s going to have a big re-sale value if he does well at Chelsea. He’s one of the best central defenders around, he’s still got a lot of improving to do.
“He’s made great strides at Leicester over the time he was at the King Power. It’s a blow to my old team obviously but it’s a lot of money to turn down. I think Thomas Tuchel has acquired one of the best young central defenders around. “
Should Fofana have handled his exit differently?
“Some players handle it in certain ways. I know Brendan Rodgers cited Harry Maguire and how he handled his move to Manchester United, saying it was impeccable.
“He’s a young lad, he’s obviously got his agent in his ear advising him the approach to take, you would imagine that’s the case. He’s gone down that path, he would argue that the end has justified the means.
“He might not get a great reception back at Leicester when he returns but not many players will. He’s got the deal, the contract at the club that he wanted, that’s modern-day football.”
Leicester make Faes move
Reims centre-back Wout Faes was heading to England on Wednesday for further discussions and a medical ahead of his proposed move to Leicester as a potential replacement for Fofana.
Leicester are aware that time is tight and have other defensive options they are actively pursuing in case the Faes deal does not come to fruition.
The deal under discussion between the clubs is for a fee that could rise to £15m.
Leicester are also looking at a number of right wingers, although a loan deal may be the most likely option.
Arsenal and Newcastle retain Tielemans interest
Arsenal retain an interest in Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans, but have made no fresh bid for the Belgium international, at this late stage of the window.
Newcastle are also monitoring Tielemans’ situation.
With the deadline looming, it looks increasingly likely that the 25-year-old will still be a Leicester player once the window has shut, although Sky Sports News understands Leicester would be prepared to sell him on Deadline Day if a buyer was prepared to meet their £25m valuation.
Tielemans has entered the final year of his contract, and unless he agrees a new deal, he can leave for free in the summer.
He completed a permanent move to Leicester on a four-year deal from Monaco in the summer of 2019 after a successful initial six-month loan spell. Tielemans has 24 goals and 24 assists in 163 appearances for Leicester.
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