Leicester City have reportedly turned down a third bid worth £70m from Chelsea for defender Wesley Fofana.
Following the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly earlier this summer, the West Londoners are looking to recruit another central defender before the transfer window closes and they have identified Fofana as their top defensive target.
The 21-year-old, who has asked to leave Leicester in order to join Chelsea, was left out of Brendan Rodgers‘s matchday squad for last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat in the Premier League against Southampton.
“In terms of Wesley, just a young player who is not quite in the right frame of mind at the moment to play,” Rodgers told reporters after the game on Saturday, via Sky Sports News. “A lot going on behind the scenes, which I understand. It’s a difficult moment for him.
“He’s a good kid, he’s been great for us whilst he’s been here and at this moment it’s a difficult one for him. You can’t afford that, certainly playing a Premier League game if you’re not 100% fully focused.”
Chelsea have already seen two offered for Fofana between £50m and £60m knocked back by Leicester this month, but the Blues have since stepped up their interest heading into the final 10 days of the window.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea have now seen a third bid for Fofana worth £70m rejected by the Foxes, who are reluctant to sell the centre-back this summer.
The report adds that Chelsea’s latest offer included add-ons that were regarded by Leicester as ‘unrealistic and difficult to achieve’.
It is thought that Leicester could be persuaded to cash in on the Frenchman if they receive a world-record fee of over £80m, although his potential sale would leave Rodgers with little time to find a replacement.
The report also claims that Rodgers will only be able to spent less than half of any fee received for Fofana if the defender is sold before the September 1 deadline due to the club’s financial position.
Leicester are yet to make an outfield signing this summer due to concerns over Financial Fair Play, and they are keen to offload a number of fringe players to balance their books.
However, their star players including Fofana, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison – three first-team members who the Foxes are keen to hold onto – have instead been in the headlines regarding a possible exit from the King Power Stadium.
Tielemans has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the midfielder has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, while a big-money switch to Newcastle United has been mooted for Maddison.
It seems highly unlikely that Fofana, who penned a new five-year contract with Leicester in March, will be involved in Saturday’s Premier League fixture against – coincidentally – Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are understood to have identified Brighton & Hove Albion‘s Adam Webster as a potential alternative should Chelsea fail in their pursuit of Fofana.