Chelsea have new top target after RB Leipzig reject swap deal bid for Josko Gvardiol

Premier League transfer spending higher than last season

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Chelsea have switched their focus away from a move for Josko Gvardiol after RB Leipzig turned down the offer of a swap deal that would have seen Timo Werner return to his former club, according to reports. Chelsea are said to be in the market for at least one additional centre-back following the capture of Kalidou Koulibaly and were said to be keen on snapping up Gvardiol, who is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young defenders.

The Blues tried to tempt Leipzig by offering Werner on loan in exchange for Gvardiol but were knocked back by the German heavyweights, who still have no intention to sell their prized asset before the new season gets underway. Chelsea have since admitted defeat by identifying Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana as their new priority target, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Fofana has been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium for some time after turning plenty of heads with his impressive form over the course of his spell with the Foxes. He missed a large chunk of the season just gone after picking up a serious injury just before the start of the campaign but has since recovered and has featured for Leicester in their recent pre-season friendlies.

Chelsea are said to be keen admirers of Fofana and have been tipped to firm up their interest in his services with an official bid in the not-too-distant future. However, it seems as though the Blues could be forced to break the bank in order to bring him to Stamford Bridge, with Leicester in no mood to cash in on the Frenchman as things stand.

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The ball will be almost entirely in Leicester’s court with regards to a move for Fofana, with the former Saint-Etienne player having signed a new long-term deal with his current employers back in March. Reports have claimed that a transfer fee in the region of £70million could be required to force through a sale and it remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be prepared to stump up the cash over the coming weeks.

Fofana would represent a shrewd addition for Chelsea, who recently missed out on a big-money move for Jules Kounde after Barcelona hijacked their proposed deal at the eleventh hour. Jamie Redknapp recently insisted that Fofana is good enough to become one of the best defenders on the planet over the next few years, even comparing him to the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Rio Ferdinand.

“[He] picked up that horrendous injury at the start of the season, you knew it would cost Leicester because he is brilliant in both boxes,” Redknapp told Sky Sports when quizzed on Fofana earlier this year.

“He attacks the ball, is a great header of the ball. We spoke a lot about Leicester’s inadequacies from set-pieces and one of those reasons is because Fofana and [Jonny] Evans have not been playing very often.

“Fofana is one of those when you see a Rio Ferdinand coming through, a Virgil van Dijk, he is in that quality. He is a great athlete, a great footballer, he can play for any club he wants to in the future. He is an exceptional talent.”

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