Wesley Fofana: Saint-Etienne’s latest young star

Ligue 1 has been the building blocks of many young player over the years and next on the conveyor belt of French talent could well be Wesley Fofana but who exactly is the 19 year old?

Breaking through

Fofana has roots in the African country of Mali but was born in Marseille. After spending his time bouncing around several youth clubs, he joined Saint-Etienne’s famed academy in 2015, aged 14. By the time he turned 17, the young centre back was featuring regularly for the second string before making his senior breakthrough at the back end of last season; twice being named on the bench before getting out on the grass with 160 minutes across the final two games of the campaign.

He started the 2019/20 out of the squad but played three back to back 90 minutes in late October/early November as he helped his team to seven points from matches against Bordeaux, Amiens and Monaco playing in the middle of a back three. Since then, he’s hardly looked back having featured heavily in 11 of 16 Ligue 1 fixtures as well as making his European bow in the Europa League group phase.

How good is Wesley Fofana?

Well, it’s fair to say that he’s far from the finished article. Anyone claiming otherwise is having you on. What he is though is a commanding presence with massive potential to become a top drawer defender. Fofana stands at 6’2 and doesn’t back down; he’s aggressive in the air and looks to get on the front foot by stepping out of position to make regular interceptions.

He’s not all about physical encounters though. He has a good understanding of the game and reads attacks well. In possession, Fofana is comfortable to recycle the ball and rarely gives it away. You won’t see him hitting 50 yard diagonals from the heart of defence though.

In terms of his stats on the Index, he’s yet to win any performance dividends with a top score of 160. His 12 month average is 87, which we expect to increase as he gains more experience. On the media front, he’s yet to see any headlines hitting FI but that is likely to change in the coming weeks.

What the future holds

Fofana is rapidly becoming a key part of the Saint-Etienne backline and despite signing a new contract in the past few days we all know that clubs can do that purely to guarantee top dollar in the transfer market. He certainly has all the attributes to move on to bigger and better things. Over the past few months AC Milan, RB Leipzig and Everton have been keeping tabs and Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is the latest to emerge as an admirer.

The question regarding the future of Wesley Fofana is not if his price of £1.09 increases but when. The answer is waiting for the rumour mill to spark into action. We wait patiently…but it will happen.

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