helsea’s third bid for Wesley Fofana has been confirmed by Brendan Rodgers, who revealed that the wantaway defender has now been banished from first-team training at Leicester.
Fofana has long since emerged as Thomas Tuchel’s top defensive target, with the Blues pushing hard to complete a high-profile swoop before the summer transfer window shuts on September 1.
However, Chelsea saw two opening offers swiftly rejected for the France Under-21 international, with a third proposal worth up to £70million including add-ons instantly rejected on Tuesday as Leicester hold out for £80m – the same world-record fee for a defender that they received from Manchester United for Harry Maguire back in 2019.
Chelsea are unwilling to go to that figure as things stand, leaving protracted negotiations at something of a stalemate.
Leicester boss Rodgers has appeared frustrated but largely sympathetic and understanding of Fofana’s predicament thus far during the saga, having left him out of the squad completely for Saturday’s Premier League defeat by Southampton, though his tone now appears to have noticeably changed.
Quizzed again on the topic following Tuesday’s nervy penalty shootout win over fourth-tier Stockport in the Carabao Cup second round, he revealed that Chelsea’s latest bid had been dismissed and that Fofana, omitted from the senior squad again, was now working with the Foxes’ U23s after not turning up for training on one day last week.
“There was an offer gone in and it’s been rejected,” Rodgers told reporters at Edgeley Park. “Apart from that, I’m not 100 per cent on the other details, because we were focusing on the game.”
He added: “He’s training with the under-23s so he can get his football fitness and keep working. It’s so important at this stage to control any sort of distractions that may be there.
“He’s a good kid, it’s just been a really challenging situation for him. I’ve had it a number of times in my career where there’s players who can deal with it, cope with it, get on, want to help their team-mates. There’s others that just can’t deal with the distraction.
“Of course that distracts them and it’s not quite right, and they miss a training session, then you need the full commitment from your players.
“These guys get well paid. The very least you can do is turn up. And if you don’t, with all due respect, you can’t then just think you can walk into our group.
“But like I say, within day to day, he’s a good kid – it’s just been hard for him to deal with everything, and whilst he’s in that frame of mind, it’s been difficult for him to play.”
Rodgers is understandably seeking a conclusion to the Fofana saga sooner rather than later, with struggling Leicester running out of time to source a replacement with the window closing on September 1.
“Of course if it (him leaving) happens, the sooner the better, because it might allow us to do some work (in the transfer window),” he said.