Breaking: From Leicester City, Chelsea complete £70m Westley Fofana deal

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.

“The two last days have been really big for me and I’m very happy,” he said.

“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 to 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.”

Even with add-on payments, the deal for the 21-year-old does not exceed the £80m that Manchester United paid Leicester for Harry Maguire in 2019 – still a world record for a defender.

He is the third most expensive Premier League defender behind Maguire and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, who joined the Reds for £75m in 2017.

Fofana’s initial fee makes him the 12th most expensive Premier League signing, but he will drop to 13th when Manchester United complete the £81.3m signing of Antony.

The Fofana deal takes Premier League clubs’ record summer transfer window expenditure to almost £1.7bn going into Thursday’s deadline day – and that is set to rise even further.

The previous record for summer spending had been the £1.43bn spent in 2017.

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly – who has spent almost £250m in his first transfer window since buying the club from Roman Abramovich – 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.”

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.

“Gutted to lose him but wish Wesley Fofana well,” former Leicester striker Gary Lineker posted on social media.

“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.”

This summer Chelsea have 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.