Chelsea have signed French centre-back Wesley Fofana from Leicester City on a seven-year deal for £70m plus add-ons.
A France Under-21 international, Fofana joined Leicester from French side Saint-Etienne in 2020 and has since made 37 Premier League appearances.
He was restricted to just seven league games during the 2021-22 campaign after breaking his leg in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal.
Speaking on his move, Fofana said: “The two last days have been really big days for me and I’m very happy. I trained this morning with the team and it’s a dream for me. I’m very excited to start playing games for the fans and the club.”
“I’m here win trophies – the Champions league, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, everything. I came here to win and the club is built to win trophies so I’m here to continue that.”
“I hope to be like the legends, Marcel Desailly and Claude Makelele. I hope in maybe 20 years I will have my own banner!”
Although he missed part of last season through injury, he instantly picked up where he left off on his return and starred for Leicester as they reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals, their only appearance at that stage of a European competition.
Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly said: ‘Wesley is a hugely promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age. We are delighted we were able to bring one of Europe’s most exciting talents to Chelsea and further strengthen that area of our squad, both for this season and many more to come.’
Behdad Eghbali and José E. Feliciano, co-controlling owners, said: ‘We continue to build for success and a bright long-term future for Chelsea, and Wesley fits our vision perfectly. He is a player who can make an impact on the squad immediately, while at his age he will only improve further going forward. We are excited to see what he can achieve at Chelsea.’
Even with add-on payments, the deal for Fofana does not exceed the £80m that Manchester United paid Leicester for Harry Maguire in 2019 – still a world record for a defender.
Fofana was part of Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI as Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in their history by beating Chelsea in the 2021 final.
Fofana becomes Chelsea’s sixth signing with the blues having brought in England forward Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £50m, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m, English midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa for £20m, Spain left-back Marc Cucurella from Brighton for £60m and Italian midfielder Cesare Casadei from Inter Milan.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are eighth in the Premier League after Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Southampton, a second loss in their past three games.