Leicester City are determined to sign a new centre back before the transfer deadline on 5 October, with eyes still on Saint-Etienne teenager Wesley Fofana and Burnley star James Tarkowski.
The need for further defensive reinforcements at the King Power Stadium, where Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans are 36 and 32 respectively, was further underlined last week when it was confirmed emergency stand-in centre-back Wilfred Ndidi will be out for 12 weeks.
Caglar Soyuncu and Filip Benkovic are the only other natural centre backs in the squad, while the versatile Daniel Amartey made his first Foxes appearance in two years in the Carabao Cup against Arsenal last week and subsequently started Saturday’s 5-2 win over Manchester City.
Despite an initial Tarkowski bid worth £30m plus add-ons being rejected by Burnley, the Daily Mail claims an offer of £37m would be enough to get the deal done. Leicester would have to increase their bid accordingly if that is the case, but the player is said to be ‘keen’ on joining them.
West Ham have also been chasing Tarkowski, who has played his way in to the England squad since becoming a Premier League mainstay, but Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan recently expressed frustration over Burnley’s high valuation.
But Leicester’s interest in 19-year-old Fofana also remains strong. Foxes scouts have been impressed by the youngster, who has emerged from the same Saint-Etienne youth ranks that produced Arsenal’s William Saliba, and have encouraged Brendan Rodgers to push for the transfer.
The latest from French publication L’Equipe is that a fourth Leicester bid for Fofana was submitted over the weekend. The proposal is said to be worth €40m (£36.3m) in total, which includes an initial fee of €35m (£31.8m), topped up by €5m (£4.5m) in add-ons.
Promisingly for Leicester, it has not been rejected out of hand, while Fofana’s relationship with Saint-Etienne coach and former Foxes boss Claude Puel is said to be souring over a refusal from the latter to engage over the possibility of letting him go.
Rather like with Tarkowski, West Ham have also been chasing Fofana and have seen bids rejected, but it is believed the player wants to join Leicester and has already agreed personal terms.
Leicester have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji, Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah and Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, the latter of whom previously played under Rodgers.