• Saint-Etienne accepted Leicester's bid for Wesley Fofana
  • West Ham will have to find other targets after failing to land Fofana
  • Fofana becomes the most expensive transfer from the French club

Leicester City is on the cusp of signing 19-year-old Wesley Fofana, the same player West Ham FC had its eyes on. Unfortunately for the Hammers, the Foxes made an acceptable offer to AS Saint-Etienne for the central defender.

The pitch for Fofana is roughly around $38.5 million, making him the most expensive outgoing player in the French side’s history. The Foxes made several bids for the 19-year-old player but failed. It was during that time that West Ham entered the picture. But in the end, Leicester was able to get it right.

"AS Saint-Etienne reached an agreement on Tuesday evening with Leicester, the current leader of the English Premier League, for the transfer of their defender Wesley Fofana," Saint-Etienne revealed in a statement on its website.

"The decision to sell the player was taken collectively by the Management Board and the shareholders," the statement continued. "ASSE accepted Leicester's exceptional offer, especially given the uncertain economic context caused by the health crisis."

The interest in Fofana is understandable. He has been performing well with the French club, making 24 appearances across all competitions in 2019-20 and has scored twice.

Saint-Etienne had wanted to keep Fofana for at least another season, aware that his value will still rise. But the Leicester City pitch was deemed acceptable, an offer that includes add-ons and other personal terms.

The deal also means that Leicester made its third signing for this window. Previously, Timothy Castagne and Cengiz Under were acquired from Atalanta and Roma, respectively.

With Fofana imminently headed to Leicester, West Ham will just have to look at other prospective defensive reinforcements. The players whom the club is monitoring include Vladimir Coufal of Slavia Prague and Nikola Maksimovic of Napoli, The Guardian reported.

Sky Sports reported, citing unnamed sources, that West Ham pitched an offer last week that was roughly $42 million. Though higher, the payment terms were singled out as the reason why the deal failed to push through. The Hammers were going to pay only about $4.69 million upfront with the rest to be paid in installments.

Wesley Fofana of Saint-Etienne
Wesley Fofana of Saint-Etienne Getty Images | Jean Catuffe