Former Chelsea captain tells Wesley Fofana to reject move to Stamford Bridge

Former Chelsea skipper Franck Leboeuf has warned Wesley Fofana against signing for the club, believing that the Leicester City star would be better served staying put for now.

Thomas Tuchel has been in the market for new centre-backs this summer as he looks to reinforce his defence after the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Christensen on free transfers, the former joining Real Madrid and the latter Barcelona.

They were linked with a move for Matthijs de Ligt after he made his desire to leave Juventus clear, but he opted to join Bayern instead. Jules Kounde also rejected a move to Stamford Bridge, opting to join Barcelona instead.

The Blues currently have four recognised first-team centre-back options, with Kalidou Koulibaly having been signed from Napoli in order to support Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Chalobah.

But with Tuchel having employed his traditional 3-4-1-2 system since arriving at Chelsea at the beginning of 2021, using it to make them European and world champions, the German coach needs further depth in the centre of defence.

His attention has turned to 21-year-old Fofana in recent days, though Leicester are holding out for a world-record £85m for a player they signed for just £35m from St Etienne two years ago.

But World Cup winner Lebouef, who twice won the FA Cup with Chelsea in a five-year spell with the London club between 1996 and 2001, believes the player may not be at the level required to slot into Tuchel’s backline just yet.

‘It’s always a bet that you make because you never know when the defender’s going to settle down,’ Leboeuf said. ‘With Fofana, it’s a tricky situation. You want to get a young player, [say] “I think he’s going to be one of the best central defenders in the world”, now to say you have to spend £80m to get him.

‘[But] the guy’s not even [a France] international, only played for St Etienne and Leicester, got injured last season, even if he’s been absolutely fantastic it’s difficult to say “okay, we’re going to spend that”.’

From the player’s point of view, Leboeuf says that Fofana would be better served staying at Leicester City anyway.

‘He has a bright future but he knows that Koulibaly has just signed, Thiago Silva is there, Chalobah is still so where is he going to be put in that situation?,’ Leboeuf added. ‘Is there going to be a rotation system? “How many games am I going to play?” I don’t know if I want to take that bet.

‘[He could say]’ “I’m going to play for Leicester, it’s not for Chelsea, but at least I’m going to play and show to the world and maybe sign for a club that will give me a better spot than Chelsea can be able to do”.’

Chelsea have also signed Raheem Sterling from Man City for £45million this summer, and begin their Premier League season away at Frank Lampard’s Everton on Saturday.

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