Chelsea have had to pay an astronomical sum for a player with only 14 appearances this year, but Wesley Fofana is a generational talent who could become one of the best defenders in the world.
Compared to other signings made this summer, Fofana is comfortably worth the £ 70 million Leicester was so determined to ask for.
Ever since his first day of training at Leicester, when it became clear he had amazed his new teammates with his potential, there was no doubt that Fofana was a rising star.
One of his best performances was in the historic FA Cup final win over Chelsea last year, and he will now wear the blue jersey after being identified as Thomas Tuchel’s # 1 goal as center-back.
A serious injury last season could have damaged him, but in European matches against Rennes and PSV Eindhoven it was as if he had never been away.
Fast-paced defender who plays on offense, with a great read of the game and a wide range of passing, Fofana has all the tools you need.
Interviewed by Telegraph Sport ahead of the season, the 21-year-old made it clear that the World Cup was in his sights.
He has not yet been called up to the first team and laughed when we pitted the names of the central defenders who preceded him. Quite simply, the competition is “insane”.
Naming Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly as one of his favorite defenders in that interview now sounds pretty prescient.
There will inevitably be disappointment in the manner of his departure. Before moving to Leicester from Saint-Etienne, he went on strike and filed a transfer request, so when Chelsea’s interest became clear, there were always problems coming.
Fofana’s behavior led to a change of tone from manager Brendan Rodgers, who seemed to make it clear that he had to leave, following the Carabao Cup game against Stockport on Tuesday night.
Leicester fans will also be annoyed. Most of those fans had predicted that he would eventually go to a Big Six club, but maybe not until next season.
The club will also argue that they deserve more loyalty, having rewarded him with a lucrative new contract as he recovered from a broken leg.
Leicester did not want to sell Fofana. They had foreseen this for another year, but when it became clear that he wanted to leave it became inevitable.
They will receive £ 70 million guaranteed, plus substantial realistic and achievable add-ons.
Susan Whelan, Leicester’s chief executive, played a huge role in the deal, resolving a deadlock in negotiations to insist on the pay structure.
Due to Leicester’s financial woes and their determination to avoid punishment in future years, they won’t spend their full quota.
In fact, around 25% should be paid to St-Etienne as part of a sales commission.
Leicester will replace Fofana with Reims central defender Wout Faes, who will have medical examinations at the club on Wednesday.
Now, however, Fofana is following in the footsteps of his idol Didier Drogba and will operate in the Champions League.
It’s a step he can take comfortably and Chelsea could really have made a bargain.