Leicester reject Chelsea’s opening £60m bid for centre-back Wesley Fofana… but Foxes fear Blues are prepared to break the £80m world record fee Man United paid them for Harry Maguire to sign the Frenchman
- Chelsea have firmed up their interest with an approach for Wesley Fofana
- Leicester have knocked back bid, with Brendan Rodgers saying he is not for sale
- The Leicester boss held talks with his star centre-back amid the Blues’ interest
- Blues working on striker and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been offered
Chelsea have had an opening £60m offer for Wesley Fofana rejected – but Leicester fear the Londoners are willing to go beyond the £80m world record fee for a defender in order to land the Frenchman.
Chelsea, who have persuaded captain Cesar Azpilicueta so sign a new two-year contract, have firmed up their interest with an approach for Fofana who currently tops their list of centre-back targets and are also working to bring in a new striker with former Arsenal man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang one name in the frame.
Leicester have knocked back Chelsea’s offer, with boss Brendan Rodgers insisting three times on Monday that Fofana was not for sale. The Leicester boss has held talks with his star centre-back amid the Blues’ interest.
Chelsea have had an opening £60m offer for Leicester defender Wesley Fofana rejected
Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel have firmed up their interest with an approach for Fofana
Though Sportsmail understands that despite the public defiance there are internal concerns held by some at Leicester that a bid for Fofana in excess of the £80m Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire would prove too good to turn down.
Chelsea are weighing up their next move with an improved offer expected in the knowledge that Fofana wants to join them.
And they remain hopeful that a compromise can be reached amid their determination to land the 21-year-old.
Leicester need to sell players this summer to fund Rodgers’ spending plans, and their next set of accounts is set to show a significant loss.
Leicester fear Blues are willing to go beyond the £80m world record fee Man United paid for Harry Maguire
Blues also want a new striker and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one name in the frame
Their struggle to shift fringe players has left them more vulnerable to approaches for star names and the club have turned down two bids – the second of about £40million – for attacking midfielder James Maddison, while they are willing to sell Youri Tielemans, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract. Newcastle have also enquired about winger Harvey Barnes, valued in excess of £60m.
Strengthening their defence is Chelsea’s current priority and they are waiting for the green light to finalise their move for Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella.
A package of around £52.5m is thought to have been agreed between the two clubs but Brighton want a deal sorted for Chelsea defender Levi Colwill before officially sanctioning Cucurella’s sale.
Chelsea are also working on bringing in a striker to replace the loaned-out Romelu Lukaku and have been offered Barcelona’s former Arsenal frontman Aubameyang.
Former Arsenal captain Aubameyang played under Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund
RB Salzburg starlet Benjamin Sesko is also on Chelsea’s list along with Manchester United’s and his suitors are hopeful of a decision on the future of the 19 year-old Slovenian soon.
Aubameyang, 33, joined Barcelona in January after leaving Arsenal after being frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta.
A move back to London and to Chelsea to spearhead their attack is one that could have appeal for the experienced striker.
Aubameyang played under Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, scoring 79 goals in just 95 games.
RB Salzburg starlet Benjamin Sesko is also on Chelsea’s list along with Manchester United’s
Chelsea’s striker search will have an impact on the future of Timo Werner, who the Blues are open to letting go providing they can strengthen their attack first.
Meanwhile, Azpilicueta has ignored interest from Barcelona and signed a new Chelsea deal until 2024.
Azpilicueta had been hoping to secure a move back to his native Spain but Barcelona have failed to make an offer that satisfies Chelsea, frustrating the 32 year-old and earning criticism for their valuation of the defender from Blues boss Thomas Tuchel.
Among other things, both Tuchel and new owner Todd Boehly had also been keen for him to stay. They value Azpilicueta’s leadership qualities, attributes they are keen to retain.
Azpilicueta had a year left on his previous contract after triggering an extension and has now put penned another deal that will now keep him at Stamford Bridge for a further 12 months.
Cesar Azpilicueta has ignored interest from Barcelona and signed a new Chelsea deal until 2024
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