Leicester City have reportedly recognised Monaco full-back Fodé Ballo-Touré as Ben Chilwell’s immediate successor at the club, following the Englishman’s £45 million transfer to Chelsea.

Chilwell signed a five-year deal at the Stamford Bridge club yesterday, ending an 11-year spell with The Foxes, whom he joined as a youngster, and Brendan Rodgers’ side have wasted no time in finding his alleged-first-team replacement.

According to reports in France from Foot Mercato, via The Leicester Mercury, The Foxes see Ballo-Touré as their main left-back priority and are eager to acquire the Frenchman, who is also a reported-target for Manchester United.

Who is Fodé Ballo-Touré?

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The defender, who started his career in the youth ranks at Paris Saint-Germain, joined Lille in 2017. He spent a season and-a-half at Les Dogues, making 47 appearances, before moving to the Principality outfit in January 2019.

He was a regular starter for Monaco since the move, starting in all but two of their 20 remaining league matches during the second-half of the 2018-19 season. The Frenchman helped to keep five clean sheets and provided three assists in the process.

The 23 year-old managed the same number of starts in last season’s ultimately abandoned-campaign. He was a regular starter since the new calendar year, appearing from the off in their last ten matches prior to the league’s suspension, as the Monégasque side finished ninth, on average points earned per match.

The left-back also started in Monaco’s first league game of the new season, which saw them draw 2-2 at home against Reims.

Ballo-Touré is a technically-gifted player, with pace and dribbling qualities. He is very offensive-minded, looking to build momentum for his team by trying to play the ball forward at every opportunity, instead of sideways and backwards.

He is known for his marauding runs forward, his fearlessness in taking players on and his ability to track back, and make important challenges – a trait he shares with his potential predecessor Chilwell.

Leicester’s left-back options

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Ballo-Touré’s acquisition would be a mostly welcomed one for Leicester, who have veteran Christian Fuchs and the inexperienced Luke Thomas in reserve at left-back.

Thirty-four year-old Fuchs had mostly appeared second-fiddle to Chilwell, deputising in his absence and was mostly used in Cup competitions. At his age, he arguably hasn’t got the legs to get forward and track back, like Chilwell did, and could play a bit-part role again this season.

Meanwhile, Thomas featured three times for The Foxes in the league last season. The Englishman provided an assist and kept a clean sheet in his senior league debut against Sheffield United, before suffering successive defeats to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

He showed cameos of his ability and will certainly develop under the guidance of Fuchs, but may also have to watch on from the sidelines if Ballo-Touré, who is four years his senior, joins the club.

Another potential option is The Foxes’ James Justin, who is deputising in the absence of regular Ricardo Pereira. Justin can also play on the opposite flank if required, although a natural left-footed player like Ballo-Touré would certainly make it easier in both phases of play for Leicester, down the left side.

Reality of transfer

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Monaco are reportedly close to agreeing an €8 million deal to sign Atlético Madrid’s Brazilian left-back Caio Henrique.

According to L’Equipe, the defender is due to provide competition and cover for Ballo-Touré at the French side. However, with Leicester keen on the the latter, Henrique could be joining Monaco on a permanent basis to replace the Frenchman.

Another luring-factor could be defender’s willingness to play European football. He has never featured in a senior European competition, with his only European participation coming in the form of the UEFA Youth League between 2014 and 2017 for PSG.

Having joined Monaco, he has gone on to witness his former side Lille, qualify for the Champions League and Europa League in each of their previous campaigns respectively, with Monaco missing out.

Due to Monaco’s numerical position last season, Fodé Ballo-Touré will seemingly fall short once again. However, considering The Foxes will be competing in the Europa League this season, it could certainly entice the 23 year-old to make the move to the King Power Stadium this summer.

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