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Chelsea report: Blues willing to pay world-record fee to secure centre-back signing

Chelsea's head coach Thomas Tuchel during the friendly football match Udinese Calcio vs Chelsea FC on July 29, 2022 at the Friuli - Dacia Arena stadium in Udine, Italy
(Image credit: Ettore Griffoni/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Chelsea (opens in new tab) are reportedly willing to pay £85m to sign Wesley Fofana from Leicester (opens in new tab) – a fee which would make the centre-back the most expensive defender of all time.

Todd Boehly's consortium completed their takeover at Stamford Bridge in May, and the Blues have already spent big under their new owners.

Among the several new faces to arrive in West London this summer is Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined from Napoli (opens in new tab) in a deal worth around £33m.

The Senegal star looks like a quality pick-up for the Blues, but Thomas Tuchel has strongly hinted that he wants to strengthen further at the back – and Fofana appears to be the top target in that department.

Wesley Fofana of Leicester City looks on during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton at The King Power Stadium on May 22, 2022 in Leicester, England

(Image credit: Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Speaking to the media ahead of his side's Premier League season opener against Everton, Tuchel said:

"Marc [Cucurella] [who signed from Brighton on Friday] can play in a back three on the left, Kalidou [Koulibaly] can play on the left of a three. Thiago Silva, who is not Benjamin Button, [is] not getting younger, unfortunately, even though sometimes it seems like it.

"Maybe we bring in one more player, maybe not. Still, we have Malang Sarr with us and Ethan Ampadu still with us. We have option, but at the same time, we know how many games are coming. So let's see if we can sign a player."

According to the Guardian's Jacob Steinberg, Chelsea are prepared to smash the world transfer record for a defender in order to land Fofana.

That record currently belongs to former Leicester man Harry Maguire, who moved to Man United (opens in new tab) for £80m three years ago.

Fofana joined the Foxes from Saint-Etienne in October 2020 for a fee worth up to £36.5m.

The France U21 international had made 50 appearances in all competitions for Brendan Rodgers team and started their 2021 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...