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West Ham had transfer disaster missing out on Fofana

West Ham are facing a crisis situation at centre-back, with Kurt Zouma’s off-the-field actions, Angelo Ogbonna still recovering from a long-term injury, and just out-of-favour Issa Diop available as back-up, after manager David Moyes switched to a back-three formation in recent games.

Aaron Cresswell, Ben Johnson and Declan Rice are all also capable of playing in the three, but the club will be ruing their decision to have not brought in Leicester star Wesley Fofana last season, who would have fitted the system so well and provided some much needed squad depth and competition for a starting spot.

Back in September 2020, the Hammers were desperate to land the French defender according to Sky Sports, having had a number of bids knocked back, including their final £33m offer, which was also rejected by Saint Etienne.

Should West Ham have signed Fofana in 2020?





Not long after, the exciting young prospect completed a move to Leicester City for £36.5m – with their payment plan more upfront than the Hammers’ proposed deal, leaving Moyes and the London Stadium faithful feeling frustrated.

Averaging a 7.00 match rating according to SofaScore in his debut season in England, Fofana became a fan favourite at the King Power Stadium, winning praise from the likes of teammate James Maddison, for his combative and composed performances at the back.

“He’s a real top young player, I don’t want to speak too highly of him in case people are listening!” said the English midfielder in an interview with BBC Sport.

“He’s very good and he’s settled in very well. We have a fantastic defender in Caglar Soyuncu who is sat on the bench at the minute and can’t get in the team because Jonny Evans’ experience is priceless and Fofana looks solid as a rock at 20-years-old.

“Hopefully is form can continue because he’s a big player for us at the minute.”

With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that he could now be valued in the region of a whopping £68m by future suitors.

After suffering a horrible fractured leg injury in pre-season last summer, he has just returned for the Foxes and already made a critical contribution in his first game back, scoring the all important goal against an in-form Rennes team to take Leicester through to the next round of the UEFA Conference League.

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Winning nine out of 13 duels as well as making five clearances, two tackles and two interceptions in just 78 minutes on the pitch, the Frenchman also earned praise from manager Brendan Rodgers, who said of his return after the game: “That’s a top player’s mentality, he’s such a top prospect. Now he’s just got to try and build his fitness up. He was exceptional.”

Despite his injury issues and time out, it remains clear that West Ham missed out on one of the world’s top U21 defenders, and if Moyes had the player who Arlo White dubbed a “beast” at his disposal, the Irons may just have found themselves a little closer to Champions League football than they already are.

In other news: Sold for £1.8m, now worth £9m: GSB had a WHU nightmare on “astonishing” £11k-p/w ace