Wesley Fofana has told Leicester he wants to be allowed to join Chelsea, who are considering whether to make the 21-year-old the world’s most expensive defender.
Thomas Tuchel, who saw Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger leave on free transfers, wants to sign another centre-back this summer and has identified Fofana as a key target.
The Frenchman has excelled since joining Leicester two years ago and is keen on a switch to west London. However, Leicester, who have rejected two bids from Chelsea, are holding out for more than £80m and are determined not to lose him during the current window.
One consideration for Chelsea is whether Fofana is fully fit after returning from a broken leg. They are aware that it could take at least £85m to convince Leicester to sell. Sources have indicated that Chelsea will eventually meet Leicester’s asking price.
Tuchel has already strengthened his defense with the signings of Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly, and the signing of Fofana gives him the freedom to use Reece James at right-back on a regular basis. James started there during Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.
The England international, who used his centre-back pace to shut down Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, scored Chelsea’s second goal shortly after being switched to full-back in the second half.
Chelsea are also looking for a striker and plan to move for Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this week. Tuchel worked well with Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund and needs more firepower after allowing Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to leave.
The Chelsea boss is set to make sweeping changes to his attack. He has signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and could still say goodbye to Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who wants to leave on loan. Christian Pulisic also faces an uncertain future at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel’s focus is also on midfield, especially after N’Golo Kanté limped off with a hamstring injury against Spurs. Kanté, whose contract expires next year, could be out for a month, which could give Conor Gallagher the chance to cement himself in Tuchel’s plans. Gallagher replaced Kante against Spurs – another of Chelsea’s senior midfielders, Mateo Kovacic, was absent with a knee injury – and the England international will be hoping to get a run in the side.
The midfielder spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace and West Ham have made an unsuccessful attempt to sign Gallagher on loan, while Palace and Newcastle are interested in the 22-year-old.
Chelsea have rejected West Ham’s initial £13m bid for Emerson Palmieri. They want £15m for the Italian left-back.
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