Rarely has a foreign player integrated so quickly into the Premier League. Arrived at the end of the transfer window on October 2 from Saint-Etienne for a transfer of 35 million euros (+5 million euros), Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, 19, is already doing the unanimity across the Channel. Not only within his Midlands club but also across England.
The Guardian newspaper voted him in his eleven type of the best players since the start of the season. “My God, what player is becoming / is already Fofana,” tweeted former England international Gary Lineker, consultant for the BBC, congratulating the club’s recruiters for finding “another gem. “
His performances and his immediate impact with the Foxes remind us, in fact, of a certain N’Golo Kanté. The 2018 world champion, unearthed in Caen by Leicester, transformed this team during the 2015-2016 season by bringing it to the title of champion of England.
“A complete player”
“Wesley is carefree and has great physical qualities, decrypts Loïc Perrin, his former teammate in the defense of Saint-Etienne. He is very tall but thin (1.90 m, 76 kg), swift, very fast on the first few meters and with an excellent head game, in short he is a complete player. “
While the Greens have chained 6 defeats in a row in L1 since his departure, the English team has recorded … 6 successes in a row, all competitions, to currently occupy the head of the Premier League. His trainer Brendan Rodgers can’t do without him. Between October 18 and November 8, or 22 days, the native of Marseille played 7 games (4 in the league and 3 in the Europa League) as a holder.
During this time, his team conceded only 3 goals. A fairly incredible performance for a player diminished for several weeks by inflammation of the tendons of the left knee which also deprived him of the last gathering of the French Hopes. “Wesley is serene, he is never in euphoria nor in depression, affirms a relative of the player. With him, everything is in the mind. He plays in the Premier League like in the neighborhood with his friends. “
“He will not be far from the France team”
The perfectly successful integration of the man who had only 30 pro games before making the leap to the Premier League can be explained in several ways. He was first warmly welcomed by the French-speaking colony of the team with Nampalys Mendy, the Portuguese Ricardo Pareira (ex-Nice), the former Monegasque Islam Slimani and the three Belgians Tielemans, Praet and Castagne.
One of his cousins who lived in London came to live with him and he helps him cross the language barrier. Finally, the presence of Ivorian assistant coach Kolo Touré, former central defender of Arsenal – one of the reasons for his signing at Leicester – is a big plus because Wesley has Ivorian origins through his parents and he plays in the same position as him. . “Having Kolo Touré by his side on a daily basis has helped him a lot because he is very protective,” confides Robert Pirès, former teammate of the Ivorian with the Gunners. His coach was also good in trusting him immediately. I find Wesley strong in duels. He is not afraid, he likes to rub shoulders with the players in front of him. “
Performances completed at just 19 years old in the roughest and most difficult championship on the planet bode well for the rest of his career. “If he continues to be consistent in his great performances within an ambitious Premier League club, he will not be far from the France team even if there is very strong competition for his position,” said Loïc Perrin. “Wesley has a bright future but the Blues are not for now, thinks Robert Pirès. There are a lot of people in this position and a hierarchy established by Didier Deschamps. He must not go too fast. Let him play and have fun! “
Starting with this Sunday with the prospect of competing against Liverpool and his attacking trident Mané, Salah, Firmino. A great challenge.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr