Leicester City have completed the signing of Wesley Fofana from St Etienne for a fee that could rise to £30m.
The 19-year-old has signed a five-year deal with the club having completed a medical in Germany and will join up with the Foxes ahead of their Premier League fixture against West Ham on Sunday.
“I’m very happy to be here. I’ve watched Leicester City closely since they won the title and they’re a top club in the Premier League,” Fofana told the club’s website.
“I know I will learn a lot from the players and the manager here, which is one of the main reasons I came. I can’t wait to get started.”
The French club confirmed the transfer on Tuesday evening, stating it will be the largest transfer fee they have ever received and that the uncertain economic environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic was a major factor in accepting the bid for the teenager.
Fofana, who has been vocal about his desire to come to the Premier League after a breakout season in Ligue 1, was also a target for West Ham, but they are now exploring alternative options.
“The decision to sell the player was taken collegially by the management board and the shareholders,” a St Etienne statement said.
“ASSE accepted Leicester’s exceptional offer, especially given the uncertain economic context caused by the health crisis.”
Leicester have also reached a financial agreement to terminate the contract of Adrien Silva, who is set to join Sampdoria on a two-year deal.
The midfielder, who joined Leicester for £22.5m on Deadline Day in the summer of 2017, is set to fly into Italy to finalise the move to Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Leicester’s priority this summer has been a centre-back and they have also been in regular contact for James Tarkowski from Burnley, but the signing of Fofana is likely to end their interest in the England international.
Fofana becomes Leicester’s third signing of the summer, following the arrivals of full-back Timothy Castagne from Atalanta and Turkey winger Cengiz Under on loan from Roma.
Analysis: ‘Fofana can turn into something special’
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show:
“Saint-Etienne have an incredible record when it comes to selling young centre-backs. They sold Kurt Zouma, they sold William Saliba and now they’re selling Wesley Fofana.
“He’s a very good player and is supposed to be one of the best young centre-backs in Europe. He really has developed under Claude Puel, the former Leicester manager.
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“What is interesting is that lots of other clubs were interested in him, including AC Milan and West Ham. The latter made an offer last week that in total came to £33m but we were told that the offer was always unlikely to succeed because of the payment terms West Ham were proposing. They were only going to offer €4m up front and they were going to pay the rest in instalments.
“The offer Leicester have put together is much more attractive. There was a bit of reluctance on Puel’s part to lose Fofana, especially to a club he used to manage, but Leicester have increased their offer and got it to a place where Saint-Etienne are comfortable with.
“Fofana is a young centre-back who really can develop into something special. Sources at Saint-Etienne say he is going to become one of the stars of French football and now he’s going to do that at Leicester.”
Transfer Deadline Day – October 5
The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity throughout the day involving the biggest names in football.
Some of the highlights to enjoy on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms:
- Breakfast with David Ginola and Rachel Yankey
- The Football Show Special with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole
- Countdown with Harry and Jamie Redknapp
- Supporters at the heart of the show with Sky VIP fan wall
You can also follow the stories on Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.
Here’s all you need to know about Deadline Day and how to keep across all the deals and drama with Sky Sports.
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