BRENDAN RODGERS has got the green light for a stunning £36.5million swoop for St Etienne centre-back Wesley Fofana, with the 19-year-old expected to join Leicester in the next 48 hours.
The Ligue 1 club accepted the Foxes' FOURTH offer, after former King Power boss Claude Puel finally gave his blessing for Fofana to join the Premier League leaders.
Sources in France say the deal could even be finalised as soon as today after Les Verts accepted an improved bid of £32m up front plus £4.5m in add-ons.
The ambitious deal will make Fofana the second most expensive signing in Leicester’s history, behind Youri Tielemans, who cost £40million when he signed from Monaco last summer.
It also ends Rodgers’ exhausting search for a centre-half to replace Harry Maguire who moved to Manchester United last year for £80m.
Since then the Foxes' boss has been seeking competition for first-choice pairing Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.
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And there will be plenty of opportunity for Fofana to get game time this season as Rodgers wants the option of playing with three at the back, which worked so spectacularly well in a 5-2 win at Manchester City on Sunday.
St Etienne finally agreed to let the jewel in their crown leave after Leicester topped the £30m West Ham were willing to pay for the Marseille-born defender, which the French club rejected last week.
Leicester decided to make their decisive push for Fofana after Burnley turned down a bid of £30m plus add-ons for 27-year-old England international James Tarkowski at the weekend.
When it became clear the Clarets were pushing for closer to £40m, the Foxes ended their interest and put all their efforts into landing Forfana, who they believe has the potential for a far greater sell-on value given his youth.
The 19-year-old French youth international will become the most expensive defender in French football history after Leicester beat off interest from the Hammers and AC Milan to land the outstanding youngster.
Another major factor in Rodgers’s decision to choose Fofana over Tarkowski was the youngster’s determination and desire to join the Foxes.
Fofana believes his aggressive game is naturally suited to the Premier League and he made it clear he was desperate to sign for the early pacesetters, who can also offer him European football this season.
French daily newspaper La Progres suggested St Etienne expect the deal to be completed on Wednesday, and are set to invest £9m of the fee immediately on Toulose’s Bafodé Diakité as a replacement.
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