By George Overhill

15th Mar, 2022 | 9:36pm

Wesley Fofana ready to make up for lost time at Leicester City

The drop off in Leicester City’s fortunes this season has been significant, with the side currently languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League.

The FA Cup winners last term only missed out on Champions League qualification at the last but it has been a different story this time around.

One major reason for that decline is the absence of one of the league’s brightest young defenders in Wesley Fofana, the man who took the league by storm with his performances after arriving from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2020.

Fabrizio Romano reported in The Guardian at the time that Brendan Rodgers’ side had shelled out what could rise to €40million for the then-19-year-old, which was a sign of how highly he was rated, and how the French side did not want to lose him.

Everything was going perfectly according to plan in his debut season in England, as the French under-21 international quickly adapted and became a fixture in the first team, thanks in part to strong connections with Jonny Evans and coach Kolo Toure according to The Times.

The icing on the cake, despite the Foxes narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification for the second season running, was the 1-0 victory in the FA Cup Final over Chelsea, a game in which The Guardian’s David Hytner referred to the centre-back as “a rock”.

He was voted the club’s Young Player of the Year by the fans and was already one of the key members of the squad.

Then came the past pre-season and the youngster’s development was cruelly halted by a broken leg in a friendly, as a result of a reckless challenge from Villareal’s Fer Nino.

It has been nearly eight months since that injury and his side has suffered without him, losing 11 times already in conceding 45 Premier League goals, and meekly surrendering their FA Cup crown to Nottingham Forest.

The 21-year-old is finally on the brink of a return to the side, with an untimely bout of Covid this month the final hurdle for him to get over before he fills the gaping hole that has been left in his absence.

It was a sign of his value at the King Power Stadium already that, despite signing a five-year contract on transfer and still recovering from a major injury, the club tied him down to a new five-year deal earlier this month.

The words of his manager gives some indication of why when he said at the time, via Leicester Mercury: “He’s one of the best young players I’ve ever worked with and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really, really top young talents who have gone on and become world-class players and I’ve got every confidence that he will follow suit because of his talent and his mentality.”

Even with the best part of a year out Fofana’s rise has been a quick one, and he is finally ready to pick up where he left off.

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