HomeFootballHave Chelsea made another expensive mistake by signing Leicester's star defender Fofana?

Have Chelsea made another expensive mistake by signing Leicester’s star defender Fofana?

Wesley Fofana, the player termed ‘untouchable’ by Leicester City at the start of the transfer window has finally joined Chelsea. The Blues’ boss, Thomas Tuchel has been a consistent admirer of the 21-year-old and has justified it by making him one of the most expensive defenders in the history of the sport.

Chelsea held Fofana in such high regard that they let Joules Kounde leave for Barcelona and rightly so as he has been the core of Leicester’s defense for the past two seasons. But the uncapped Frenchman is yet untested on the biggest stages. And carries a massive possibility of getting lost in the London club’s ranks like many overpriced players before him.

Fofana’s dynamic player profile

The Blues have signed Fofana, a talented young defender coveted by many across Europe. But he runs the risk of being yet another overpriced overpaid benchwarmer.

The Marseille native played his first match as a professional at just 17 years old. He was a part of the dominant St. Etienne side that defeated Nice 3-0 at home on 18th May 2019. In his first season itself, the prolific teenager averaged a pass completion of 87.5%. Fofana soon rose to fame and was compared to the likes of Spanish legend Sergio Ramos.

He moved to Leicester in the winter window of the 2020-21 season and played a total of 28 matches and 2,262 Premier League minutes. He had a considerably high impact for a mid-season signing as The Foxes secured a 5th place finish.

Much more than a defender

Fofana averaged 11.28 defensive actions (interceptions, tackles, blocks, pressures, etc.) per 90 for Leicester City over the course of his tenure. He attempted 9.22 pressures while also being press resistant at the same time owing to his excellent pace and skill.

At 6.1 feet he is shorter than the Premier League’s ‘ideal’ defender. But what he lacks in physicality he has fulfilled with timing. He wins 3.22 aerial duels per 90 some of which are genuine goal threats in the opposition half.

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Perhaps Fofana’s greatest attribute is the things he does after securing the ball. Winning 0.78 dribbles per 90 he ranks above world-class defenders like Barcelona’s Araujo and compatriot Joules Kounde in this aspect. As hinted at earlier in the article Fofana displays exceptional passing accuracy. While playing for The Foxes he was able to better his pass completion percentage of St. Etienne (88%- an average of both the seasons with the Foxes).

Faults in the game

Fofana as outgoing and daring as he is has often displayed a little nativity when it comes to reading the field. Many a time when progressing the ball forward he has a tendency to leave space behind him. These spaces have on various occasions been exploited by pacy strikers such as Che Adams and Ivan Toney in recent games. These mistakes can, of course, be rectified by Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva at Chelsea but in the long run, can prove to be detrimental to the team.


His passing stats though impressive have done little to progress the game. Although he has achieved an impressive pass completion percentage most of those passes have been short or medium passes to either defending midfielders or fellow defenders Jonny Evans and Çağlar Söyüncü who play in the same line. A result of this is only 0.22 key passes per game and long passes which are inaccurate and error-prone.

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Where will he play at Chelsea?

The departure of Christensen left the right center-back role vacant. Fortunately for Chelsea, the former Ligue 1 star seems tailor-made to fit that position. He will be certainly expected to supply the ever-progressing Reece James with his short but accurate passes. And with the experienced Silva to cover him Fofana can have the freedom to support attack.

Thomas Tuchel has certainly played a dice by sighing Fofana for such a huge fee. The player is exceptional and has the potential of being a long term solution to Chelsea’s defensive problems. His ambition to be in the French squad for the World Cup will certainly benefit Chelsea but only time will tell if he will be as reliable as Silva or as important as Rudiger.


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