Wesley Fofana to Chelsea: World-class potential recognised at Leicester is ideal match for Thomas Tuchel’s defence | Soccer Information

Wesley Fofana remembers his first coaching session at Leicester Metropolis. Jamie Vardy lunged at him with each toes. That was his welcome to English soccer however the younger defender quickly made himself proper at dwelling.

When he was out injured final season, Brendan Rodgers in contrast his absence to Liverpool shedding Virgil van Dijk. So swift has his progress been that former Chelsea defender and World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf likened his rise to that of Kylian Mbappe.

Jonny Evans, his centre-back companion at Leicester, even tipped him to go on to turn into one of many world’s greatest defenders after watching him take care of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Talking to Rodgers about Fofana in April, he was equally satisfied.

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Fofana’s Premier League greatest bits for Leicester Metropolis

“He’s a fully phenomenal expertise, this younger man,” he advised Sky Sports activities. “He’s a star within the making. The uncooked expertise, the anticipation for a defender. He’s going to be an absolute elite participant.” Now 21, Fofana is able to present that he already is one.

The £75m transfer to Chelsea will make the uncapped Frenchman one of the costly defenders within the historical past of the sport. The payment displays his degree of efficiency for Leicester however it additionally reveals one thing about how a lot Thomas Tuchel believes he wants him.

Chelsea’s defensive report because the German arrived on the membership has been largely spectacular, conserving as many clear sheets as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Even Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis have conceded solely two fewer than Chelsea since Tuchel got here in.

However the departure of Antonio Rudiger to Actual Madrid was an enormous loss. It’s not simply his high quality however extra particularly his tempo. Rudiger was clocked because the quickest participant within the Premier League final season – simply forward of Mohamed Salah and Adama Traore.

Kalidou Koulibaly, 31, can replicate Rudiger’s presence however alongside the 37-year-old Thiago Silva it means Chelsea should be aware of the make-up of that again line. It partly explains why Tuchel has typically needed Reece James in there over Cesar Azpilicueta.

No different Chelsea defender got here near Rudiger’s prime velocity of 36.7 kilometres per hour final season. Trevoh Chalobah was closest at 33.2 kilometres per hour. However Fofana adjustments that. His prime velocity for Leicester final season was a wholesome 34.5 kilometres per hour.


It makes him one of many quickest defenders within the Premier League and that has penalties. It permits his crew to play differently. “He was letting us assault, shutting down counter-attacks,” stated James Maddison after beating PSV final season.

Talking to Rodgers again at Leicester’s coaching floor on the morning after that win in Europe, he defined the impression Fofana’s fashion of play had on his crew. They have been defending greater and the gaps have been smaller. “Tempo does that,” he advised Sky Sports activities.

“The scale of the pitch is all the time dictated by your centre-halves and full-backs.” If the defence are too deep, involved by that ball excessive, it undermines every little thing. “You may be up there urgent but when they’re sat again on the midway line then the pitch is just too large.”

He added: “It’s a trait we wish to have within the crew. We ask them to defend ahead. That’s about anticipation, closing the pitch, sustaining assaults. You can not all the time rating with the primary move however that you must win it again and counter-press if you lose it.”

Wesley Fofana only played 630 minutes in the Premier League last season due to injuries, but, per 90 minutes, the centre-back ranked fifth in the league for recoveries in the defensive third and 15th for passes completed

That means to intercept, darting out from the again line to win again possession, is a much-cherished high quality in prime groups. They need a defender who can run again in direction of his personal objective but additionally impression the sport within the different course with that managed aggression.

Add in Fofana’s aerial means due to a leap that permits him to outjump taller opponents. Observe the ball expertise that guarantee he’s comfy in possession. This is the reason Leicester regarded such a special crew in his absence in the course of the first half of final season.

“Any crew would miss him,” Rodgers advised Sky Sports activities.

“It’s a must to be sincere and open sufficient to confess that you’re going to miss somebody of that means. After all that’s going to hinder efficiency. There isn’t a rocket science to it. You miss your greatest gamers and it takes away from the extent of your recreation.”

That’s Leicester’s drawback now. With the assistance of Evans on the pitch and Kolo Toure off it, the boy dubbed ‘Little Wes’ as a result of presence of title-winning captain Wes Morgan on the membership grew into a person within the Midlands. However they needed to know this is perhaps fleeting.

The circumstances of Fofana’s arrival have been controversial. Saint-Etienne didn’t need to promote however the participant pushed for the transfer, his household enduring private abuse because of this. He was single-minded then and singled-minded now. All that issues is the subsequent step.

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The panel talk about whether or not Fofana can enhance the Chelsea defence

For Fofana, meaning Chelsea. He was 11 years outdated when his hero Didier Drogba received the Champions League with the membership in 2012. By following that very same path, he’s decided to safe a spot in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for the World Cup later this yr.

Chelsea will profit from that ambition, simply as they are going to profit from the tactical flexibility that Rodgers instilled in him. Fofana is an efficient match on the suitable aspect of a again three however he may play as one in every of two centre-backs. That is perhaps the one side left to enhance.

“We simply should be cautious with him,” stated Rodgers in April. “He’s nonetheless studying facets of the sport, tactically. We now have to recollect how younger he’s.” Along with his £75m transfer full, maybe it will likely be time to have a look at it one other method. How good may Wesley Fofana but turn into?

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