5 possible replacements for Wesley Fofana at Leicester City as his injury leaves a massive void in the Foxes' defense
Following a fantastic campaign for Leicester City in which Wesley Fofana broke through with solid performances week in and week out, the young center-back was only scratching the surface of his sky-high potential. However, a cloud of misfortune has descended on the 20-year-old, as he will be out until 2022 owing to a medial ligament injury.
Hello guys, many thanks for all your messages. It is a bad day today but I am in a tremendous club with a wonderful medical team. I will give you news as a soon as I have a final diagnosis but we already know that I have a fibula fracture. I will come back soon and stronger pic.twitter.com/lYIccZ0Bb9
— LAWESTT (@Wesley_Fofanaa) August 4, 2021
After sustaining the injury during The Foxes’ pre-season friendly against Villarreal, Fofana was carried off on a stretcher. The damage to his left leg happened during the second-half following a brutal tackle by Villarreal striker Fer Nino left the central defender writhing in pain.
Following his team’s win over Manchester City to lift the Community Shield, Brendan Rodgers revealed that the defender will be out of action for at least six months. Fofana’s injury will be a huge setback for the Foxes, who may now decide to reinforce their defensive ranks ahead of the new season.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Wesley Fofana fractured his fibula during the 3-2 pre-season friendly victory over Villarreal at King Power Stadium on Wednesday evening.
You’ll come back stronger, @Wesley_Fofanaa! 💙
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 5, 2021
Jonny Evans will also be unavailable for Leicester until the international break in September. As a result, the only senior center-backs they have are Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu. In that case, a potential replacement, a player who can fill the void left by the talented center-back’s injury, is a key necessity for the Foxes.
With that being said, here are 5 potential replacements for Wesley Fofana.
James Tarkowski is an old-school, no-nonsense defender who has appeared in a number of Premier League matches. Burnley’s defender, like Fofana, is a disciplined defender and might be an ideal replacement for the young center-back.
He is an elegant defender who is dominant in aerial duels, is endowed with power, and is clever and composed. He has a propensity to overly man-orient his defending, which might result in larger spaces or him separating from the defensive structure. Nonetheless, he possesses excellent balance, efficient tackling, and physical prowess.
He has blossomed into the Clarets’ guiding beacon since joining from Brentford in 2015, assisting Sean Dyche’s team to perform miracles on a tight budget. After years of playing more direct and counter-attacking football at Turf Moor, Tarkowski would need some time to acclimate to Leicester’s passing system, but the Englishman is capable of doing just that.
Chris Richards has never stood out as the brightest gem of his generation at Bayern Munich, but his extreme consistency has made him undroppable once coaches have started playing him. It happened during his loan at Hoffenheim, where he started 13 of their last 17 games across all competitions.
Leicester’s demands for that position are well met by the 21-year-old American: a center-back who stands out for his strength, firm tackling, aerial prowess, and ability to surge forward and bring the ball out from the back.
He is confident, has promising defensive abilities, and is a major worry for the opposition in set pieces, but he is far from a polished product but can be unleashed with consistent playtime.
Jack Hendry emerged in Scotland as a physically intimidating ball-playing center defender at Dundee. His performances prompted then-Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to pay £1.2 million to bring him to Celtic Park.
His style and characteristics appeared to be well-suited to Rodgers’ possession style, but life at an Old Firm club in Glasgow is generally cruel, and Celtic supporters had already lost all confidence in their new signing after just 27 games.
The 25-year-old, though, rediscovered his footing during his loan spell (now permanent) with KV Oostende in Belgium Pro League. Oostende’s fortunes were revived in the same way as Hendry’s career was. Last year, the West Flanders club nearly escaped relegation. In this campaign, they finished fifth in the regular season.
— Jack hendry (@Jack_Hendry2) January 16, 2021
A natural leader, exceptional stability on the ball, and never afraid to beat one or two lines with his passes, it won’t come as a surprise if Brendon Rodgers, who knows Hendry well from his time at Celtic, brings the Scotsman to England.
Filling in for Virgil van Dijk, Gomez, and Joel Matip last season, Liverpool’s Nat Phillips excelled in the second part of last season for the Reds but may struggle for playing time this season.
With the return of Van Dijk, Gomez, and Matip from their respective injuries, as well as the intriguing acquisition of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, Phillips seems to be well behind the pecking order.
Nat Phillips was a name that the majority of Liverpool supporters had never heard of before the last campaign, but he quickly became a fan-favorite at Anfield after demonstrating his quality through his solid performances under immense pressure and playing a crucial role in the club’s qualification for the Champions League football.
𝗕𝗜𝗚 Nat 💪
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 1, 2021
He is a true leader and no-nonsense defender who is aware of his limits and understands that he is not exceptionally gifted or creative on the ball. His toughness and concentration, though, make him an ideal match for Leicester City.
Schalke’s Ozan Kabak was another center-back who played a pivotal role during Liverpool’s injury crisis last campaign. The Turkish international established a reputation for himself during his six-month loan spell at Anfield. Although Liverpool did not make his move permanent, he has a bright future and might get a chance to complete his unfinished business in England if Leicester makes a move for him.
Kabak is not the most technically gifted defender, but he is an extremely committed and athletic defender with a massive frame that makes him an imposing presence. He combines poise with speed and strength, having strong legs and a sturdy upper body to frighten the finest strikers.
Although he is not too good on the ball and can be a bit clunky, he does feel comfortable with it and likes to drive it forward and break lines with his passes. His anticipation and expertise in 1v1s though, possibly outweigh his defects in his reading of spaces and lack of decision-making on the ball.
If Leicester City can acquire him for a reasonable price, he would be a fantastic acquisition at the age of 21.