Stephen Dunmoye

The Blues are ready to agree to the deal of £70m to take 21-year-old Wesley Fofana from Leicester City which was described as “the most prodigiously talented young central defender in the world”, taking their total outlay this window to more than £200m.

Former Foxes striker, Gary Lineker tweeted after it was reported a deal was done, “Gutted to lose him but wish Wesley Fofana well,”. “Every player wants to play Champions League football so it’s understandable.

“Chelsea fans, you’ve got the most prodigiously talented young central defender in the world. Yes, I believe he’s that good.”

However, Thomas Tuchel’s defence was one of the toughest in the league after he became Blues boss in January last year, conceding just 17 goals in his first 30 top-flight games.

But they have shipped more than double that – 35 – in the 31 league games since, and Tuchel has had to remodel his backline this summer.

“Chelsea needed a centre-back and would be nowhere near competitive if they didn’t get one,” said former Blues winger Pat Nevin.

“Fofana is a very good answer. Chelsea’s need has probably put another £10m on his price tag, but Chelsea needed to add.”

With Antonio Rudiger leaving for Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen joining Barcelona, Chelsea were left needing defensive reinforcements but were unable to do business until a consortium led by Todd Boehly completed its takeover.

That was in May, and former Chelsea goalkeeper, Rob Green believes a lack of planning has left them “over a barrel” as the deadline approaches.

Fofana would follow Marc Cucurella through the door after the Spaniard’s £60m move from Brighton earlier this month.

“They are playing catch-up and have to pay the money,” Green said. “They will get a great player. He immediately ticks the boxes and is also one of the future.”

Chelsea have used Reece James a right-sided centre-back in two of their opening four Premier League games, and Green says the signing of Fofana would allow Tuchel to keep the England full-back in his more natural position.

“Reece James’ quality is on the ball,” added Green. “Fofana ticks a box for the centre-half position but also strengthens elsewhere as James can go forward.”

NEWSTODAYNG recalled that Fofana joined Leicester two years ago in a deal worth up to £36.5m – a hefty outlay for someone who had made only 30 senior appearances for Saint-Etienne.

With his impression by playing 38 times in his debut campaign, he was being voted the club’s Young Player of the Season.