With Liverpool in the market for a defensive midfielder, they have reportedly shifted their focus to the likes of Crystal Palace’s Cheick Doucoure and Fulham’s Joao Palhinha after missing out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia.
However, those two Premier League stars are being valued around £60-70m and Fofana, who has developed a strong reputation in France and made 10 appearances at the World Cup in Qatar, is being allowed to leave in a deal worth less than £30m.
David Ornstein of The Athletic reports that Forest have made a verbal offer and a proposal of £29.8million (€35m) plus add-ons is at a level the Ligue 1 club would be prepared to accept.
Forest battled relegation last season and are showing plenty of ambition to bring in a midfielder that has been targeted by Europe’s elite in recent seasons.
The report even lists them as being interested in Benfica’s Florentino Luis - a player who has been dubbed the ‘next Enzo Fernandez’ - in what is another example of a player Liverpool perhaps should be in for.
Fofana also makes more tackles, interceptions and blocks per 90 than incoming midfielder Wataru Endo and dominates him in terms of progressive passes, carries and successful take-ons, but he falls short defensively to Palace’s Doucoure as well as Fulham’s Palhinha (except in blocks and interceptions). However, he has the edge on the ball.
Fans were shocked over the news, with many struggling to understand why no other bigger side were in for the midfielder - one fan tweeted: ‘Youssouf Fofana is so, so much better than Forest.’
Whilst another said: ‘This seems like a caicedo mark 2, where top four clubs go “where did this guy come from” and pay 80+ million next summer.’
His experience at the top level is limited; he was involved at the World Cup, but he has no Champions League appearances and has played just 141 times for Monaco. Despite that, he is a strong option due to his technical ability and defensive output.
Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to add another midfielder to his squad before the window shuts - Endo looks set to join in a £16m deal and the experienced 30-year-old will help to plug a crucial problem at the base of their midfield, but he isn’t a long-term solution.
Other targets are still being explored which tells us that they are still looking for a stronger option than the Japan captain, but considering Fofana is available for a fee of less than £30m, you begin to wonder why Liverpool aren’t in for him.