Leicester’s transfer business has been underwhelming to say the least this summer, with the club hamstrung with what they can do until they trim down their inflated wage bill.
Captain Kasper Schmeichel has ended his 11-year association with the club, joining Ligue 1 side Nice, but more players need to follow the Dane’s lead if the Foxes are to make any headway in reshaping their squad in future windows.
There are plenty of sides trying to help Leicester out – or take advantage – as Wesley Fofana, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have all attracted significant interest this summer. There’s close to £150m on offer for Leicester if they want it, but those in charge at King Power Stadium are reluctant, understandably, to rip out the core of the team at one time.
Talks are continuing over a number of deals, with the following 90min’s understanding of the current state of play.
Despite signing Marc Cucurella on Friday, Chelsea are still looking for another defender and Fofana is their top target right now.
The young Frenchman has made it clear to Leicester that he would be interested in the move, but the Foxes aren’t currently in interested doing a deal. After all, Fofana is 21 years old with Premier League experience and has a contract that runs until 2027. He’s an expensive asset, and both Chelsea and Leicester know that.
Chelsea initially suggested a fee of £60m but quickly bumped that up to £70m once it became clear that Leicester weren’t interested. But the Foxes are holding out for at least £80m, arguing that Fofana is at least as valuable as Harry Maguire was when he made his £85m move to Manchester United in 2019.
Talks remain on between the two sides, with Chelsea looking to negotiate a discount after what has already been an expensive summer.
To balance the Financial Fair Play books, Leicester are prepared to allow Youri Tielemans to leave the club this summer.
The 25-year-old midfielder has entered the final 12 months of his contract and has indicated that he does not want to sign an extension. Leicester officials are prepared to grant him an exit in the coming weeks to bring in a solid fee of around the £25m mark.
Leading his list of suitors are Arsenal, who are hopeful of getting a deal done in the near future after weeks of chasing.
Leicester’s plan for Maddison is to offer the playmaker a new contract, and they have no interest in selling to Newcastle United – something they’ve made abundantly clear.
Manager Brendan Rodgers even stated in his most recent press conference, ahead of the opening day of the season, that, “Wesley Fofana and James Maddison are not for sale. These are very important players to us. We’re in a situation where we need to move some players out but that doesn’t mean getting rid of anyone, our best assets.”
A £40m bid for Maddison was rejected without hesitation and a second offer, worth £45m plus add-ons, was, 90min understands, swiftly knocked back as well. So far, Newcastle have not returned with a third, with Tottenham also known admirers.
Selling Tielemans is seen as a necessary step for Leicester this summer, but the money raised by his sale will go towards evening out the club’s finances and therefore cannot be used to bring in any new signings – something everyone involved has accepted is necessary.
Rodgers’ words to the press indicate an unwillingness to sell either Fofana or Maddison, but it remains to be seen if Leicester will cash in should improved offers be received – the latter has just two years remaining on his deal prior to negotiations over fresh terms.