Chelsea complete £70m deal for Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana

French centre-back signs seven-year contract with Stamford Bridge club

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Chelsea have secured their sixth major signing of the transfer window after completing a deal for Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

Fofana has signed a seven-year contract with Chelsea, bringing to an end the club's protracted pursuit of the 21-year-old centre-back.

“The two last days have been really big days for me and I’m very happy,” Fofana told the club website. “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.”

The Blues first turned their attention to Fofana after missing out on fellow Frenchman Jules Kounde, who opted to join Barcelona from Sevilla at the start of August.

Chelsea had several bids for Fofana rejected by Leicester, leading to the player being excluded from games against Chelsea and Southampton and left to train with the Under-23 squad after expressing his unhappiness at not being allowed to leave.

It is understood that the agreed fee is in the region of an initial £70 million that could rise to £75m after add-ons.

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly said: “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.”

Fofana flew to the United States on Monday to undergo his medical, which, according to The Athletic, was to give Boehly “peace of mind”, having missed most of last season with a broken leg.

Fofana came through the youth system at Saint-Etienne and made his first-team debut in May 2019. After one full season in Ligue 1, he joined Leicester for a reported £36.5m in the summer of 2020, and was named their Young Player of the Season.

However, he suffered a broken fibula in a pre-season game in August 2021 and missed most of last season, returning to the Leicester first team in March.

Fofana's arrival takes Chelsea's summer spending to around £230m following the signings of England forward Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, Spain full-back Marc Cucurella from Brighton, English teenage midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa, and 18-year-old American goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who will join the club from Chicago Fire at the end of the MLS season in January.

Chelsea may have been busy in the transfer market, but they have also seen several first team players from last season leave this summer, including defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, full-back Emerson Palmieri, and forward Timo Werner, while striker Romelu Lukaku, defender Malang Sarr, and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have departed on loan.

Updated: August 31, 2022, 12:46 PM