Chelsea’s new defender Wesley Fofana took a swipe at his old club Leicester after completing his acrimonious switch to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Fofana agreed a seven-year contract with Chelsea, who will reportedly pay up to £70 million ($81.3 million) for the French centre-back.
The 21-year-old was left out of the Leicester team by boss Brendan Rodgers once Chelsea’s interest became public, fuelling a bitter transfer saga that lasted for several weeks.
Partly as a result of Fofana’s absence, Leicester have slumped to the bottom of the Premier League, leading Rodgers to make some critical comments about unsettled players destabilising his squad.
But Fofana hit back after his blockbuster transfer to west London was finally completed.
“Thank you to you, Foxes fans, for your kindness and your constant support, even in the moments you were led to believe I didn’t respect the club. I will never forget how we vibrated, exulted or cried, together. I will never forget you,” Fofana wrote on Instagram.
“I chose not to communicate during this transfer window despite all the criticism and all the often false and misleading comments, even when they were coming from the club.
“I understood and I learned. I didn’t want to damage the image of the institution and I chose to take it rather than answer.
“I thank Top (Srivaddhanaprabha, chairman) for his understanding, thanks to the managers, to the coach who has always appreciated me, even if he chose to expose me a lot lately. I got it coach.
“There were ups and downs but I never cheated, you can be sure of that. Thank you to all the people who work here everyday, you are the soul of this club!”
Fofana will be key addition for Chelsea after the close-season departures of centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona.
He made 52 appearances for Leicester after moving to the Foxes in October 2020 for a reported £32 million from Saint-Etienne, winning the FA Cup in 2021 when they beat Chelsea.
He made his Saint-Etienne debut as an 18-year-old and has emerged as one of the most highly-rated young defenders in Europe.
“Wesley is a hugely promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age,” said Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly.
“We are delighted we were able to bring one of Europe’s most exciting talents to Chelsea and further strengthen that area of our squad, both for this season and many more to come.”
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has already signed Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, but Chelsea have looked shaky at the back in the opening weeks of the season.
A 2-1 defeat at Southampton on Tuesday underlined Chelsea’s problems and their spending might not be over yet.
Tuchel’s side have also added England forward Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and they remain linked with Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.