Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has been “relentless” during the club’s pursuit of Wesley Fofana and insists he is “delighted” to be working with the former Leicester City defender.
The Blues completed a £70m move for Fofana towards the end of the summer transfer window after identifying the 21-year-old as the ideal replacement for Antonio Rudiger, who joined Real Madrid at the end of last season.
While Fofana has only played 37 Premier League games, he is seen as one of the most promising defenders in Europe and Tuchel believes he is a “very exciting” signing.
Fofana, who has become the third most expensive defender in the Premier League, has penned a seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge.
“We are very excited,” said Tuchel about his new signing. “Wesley is the profile that we identified very, very early in the summer as a replacement for Toni and Andreas [Christensen].
“We have stayed patient and are super happy that Todd [Boehly] worked tirelessly and never gave up. We are pleased that we were able to carry out this transfer.
“Wesley is young, fast and very strong in set pieces, in defense and in attack. He was one of our very early targets to replace the guys who left the club.
Fofana went on strike essentially to secure his move to Chelsea and a similar situation played out at his former club Saint-Etienne.
However, Tuchel is not concerned about the defender’s actions and insists he was ‘very respectful’ of Leicester during the drawn-out transfer.
“I don’t know enough to judge all the facts,” added Tuchel. “I don’t have enough information, sometimes players have promises with clubs that lead to these situations.
“Obviously clubs never like it but we don’t judge because we don’t have the full picture.
“Wesley has been very reliable to me with what he said, he never disrespected Leicester and was very respectful when we messaged.
“He saw an opportunity for himself and wanted to make it clear to Leicester that he was coming here. But he was very respectful and fair to me.’
Fofana criticized his ex-club Leicester and former manager Brendan Rodgers after his arrival at Chelsea.
“Thanks to the managers, to the coach who has always appreciated me even though he’s been embarrassing me a lot lately,” he said in a social media post.
“I have chosen not to communicate during this transfer window, despite all the criticism and all the often false and misleading comments, even if they came from the club.
“I understood and learned. Not wanting to damage the institution’s image, I decided to take it rather than reply.’
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