We 'signed' Wesley Fofana for Chelsea and he had an incredible impact
After a move for Jules Kounde failed, Chelsea are reportedly turning their attention to Leicester City's Wesley Fofana as Thomas Tuchel's search for a defender continues.
An underwhelming start to pre-season prompted Tuchel to seemingly confirm his intention to continue rebuilding his side for next season. With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen having departed this summer, the Blues signed Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as a replacement, though with Cesar Azpilicueta also tipped to leave, more depth is needed in defence.
Tuchel's priority signing was Sevilla defender Kounde, who's been on the Blues' radar since last summer, but despite Chelsea's best efforts, the French international has moved to Barcelona. Now, football.london understands that Chelsea are interested in Leicester City's Fofana, with the young French defender valued at around £70 million.
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He's Premier League proven, so could Fofana prove the best fit defender for Chelsea? We simulated the Blues' 2022/23 season with Fofana in the squad to see what sort of results he could help Chelsea produce.
We 'signed' Wesley Fofana for Chelsea next season
For this simulation to happen, we used the in-game editor for Football Manager 2022 to transfer Fofana from Leicester City to Chelsea. We also updated the Blues squad with all the latest changes to try and get the most accurate results possible.
In his first season with Chelsea, Fofana quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League, making 40 appearances in all competitions whilst averaging an incredibly high rating of 7.51 per game.
The 21-year-old also grabbed four goals and five assists throughout the season - two of his goals coming in the Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona. When compared to the rest of the Chelsea squad, Fofana was the highest-rated player, with Edouard Mendy (7.41) the second best.
Defensively he was the outright best defender, though he made fewer appearances than Trevor Chalobah, Koulibaly, Ben Chilwell and Reece James. Compared to Chelsea's defenders, Fofana had the most goals, most assists and most player of the match awards, and the best rating.
At the end of the season, FM22 released the Best XI from the Chelsea squad, using player statistics, league data and other measures to complete the team. Here's Chelsea's Best XI for the 2022/23 season, according to our simulation.
Fofana slotted into a back three with Chalobah and Kouliably, with Thiago Silva missing out due to his injury-ridden campaign. Kai Havertz led the line after scoring 24 goals in all competitions, whilst Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount sat in-behind.
Chelsea’s 2022/23 season overall from the simulation
Chelsea finished third in the Premier League table again during the simulation, though they improved points-wise compared to last season. The Blues lost two fewer games and earned six more points, but they still finished 18 points behind the champions, Manchester City.
The addition of Fofana and Koulibaly saw the Blues improve defensively in the league, with Tuchel's side conceding 29 goals - four fewer than last season. The issue lay up front for Chelsea, though, scoring 16 fewer goals and finishing the season as the sixth highest scorers in the league.
In the cup competitions, the Blues were unable to win any silverware, coming closest in Europe. Mateo Kovacic opened the scoring two minutes into Chelsea's Champions League final, but the game went to extra-time after Leroy Sane's 86th-minute leveller.
Sadio Mane then scored one minute into added time, enough for Bayern to lift the trophy. A 2-1 defeat to Arsenal saw the Blues knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the semi-final, whilst a penalty shootout defeat to Norwich eliminated the Blues in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
Overall, if Fofana was to make the switch from Leicester City to Chelsea, the simulation predicts the Frenchman could have an incredible impact, becoming one of the Blues' best players whilst helping Tuchel's side to a Champions League final. Chelsea improved defensively after his arrival, though a lack of goals proved costly, maybe hinting that investment at the other end may also be needed.
Do you think Wesley Fofana is a good fit for Thomas Tuchel's side? Let us know in the comments.
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