Brendan Rodgers has said he would not hesitate to omit Wesley Fofana from his squad if he felt the defender was affected by Chelsea’s ongoing transfer hunt, but made it clear that the Frenchman has not submitted a transfer request. Leicester have turned down two offers from Chelsea and are hoping for a third that could be worth more than £80m, making him the most expensive defender in the world. Leicester are reluctant to sell Fofana, who is believed to be interested in joining Chelsea.
Rodgers is keen to stay with Fofana, with whom he has had numerous talks since Chelsea’s interest surged. Leicester’s public position is that Fofana are not for sale and they are determined not to lose the defender this window. However, it may be difficult for Leicester, who need to shed players to strengthen themselves, to turn down a record offer.
The Leicester manager acknowledged that the outside noise surrounding the player could be destabilising. “Mentally he’s fine, but as you can imagine for a 21-year-old with the spotlight on you, [the] talking about what you can maybe win at another club, where you can play, is a challenge, that’s the honest answer. He has been absolutely brilliant since his first day here.
“You have to remember these are very young guys. For some of them it is the first time they experience these situations. There can always be interruptions, but the idea is to keep the group focused. The moment the window closes, it’s all over, but while we’re in this period it’s challenging.”
Asked if he would leave Fofana out of his squad to face Southampton on Saturday if the defender wasn’t in the right frame of mind, Rodgers replied: “Yes, 100%. If the players are not totally focused and committed to the club and to being here, or for whatever reason they just don’t have the right mindset, that won’t help us. We have to make sure that everyone is really focused so that we can play the best game that we can. I will always evaluate that after the sessions.”
Fofana has shone since joining Leicester from Saint-Étienne two years ago and has impressed on his return from a broken leg. Chelsea are keen to sign him to replace Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger, who left the club on free transfers this summer. “It’s a challenge for any player, particularly youngsters, but he knows they want him here and this is an important step for his career, to be here at Leicester and to have more development, but it’s natural when other clubs are interested. on you for your talent, and especially with the money that comes with it,” Rodgers said. “It certainly makes you think, that’s for sure.”