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Chelsea's Wesley Fofana in line for first France call-up as Raphael Varane's successor

Metro logo Metro 15/03/2023 Metro Sport Reporter
Didier Deschamps will announce his new-look squad on Thursday (Pictures: Getty) © Provided by Metro Didier Deschamps will announce his new-look squad on Thursday (Pictures: Getty)

Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana is in line to receive his first France call-up as manager Didier Deschamps looks to begin life after Raphael Varane.

The Manchester United centre-back, who has played in two World Cup finals for his nation, announced his retirement from international football last month.

Varane, who received 93 caps for France, had been a cornerstone of Les Bleus’ defence for a decade, but felt he was being ‘suffocated’ by the relentless demands of playing so many matches for club and country.

Fortunately for France, they are blessed with a conveyor belt of talent and Deschamps has an abundance of established and emerging defenders to pick from to replace Varane.

He will announce his latest squad for this month’s internationals on Thursday afternoon, and RMC Sport claim Chelsea’s Fofana has emerged as a likely option to fill the Varane void.

The 22-year-old has endured a difficult season at Chelsea since leaving Leicester in the summer, with a knee injury keeping him sidelined for the best part of five months.

But he has started Chelsea’s last four matches and generally impressed, particularly in wins over Leeds, old club Leicester and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

The 22-year-old has impressed since returning from injury (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro The 22-year-old has impressed since returning from injury (Picture: Getty)

Fofana was imperious at the back against BVB last week as Chelsea kept a clean sheet and progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition, while he netted his first goal for the Blues against Leeds earlier in the month.

Although the youngster has seven caps for France’s Under-21 team, he has never been involved in the senior setup.

He had come close to getting a call-up in the past, however, and France’s national team staff have been keeping a close eye on his progress for some time and rate him very highly.

There will be a serious battle to replace Varane in the side, however, with Deschamps likely to give Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano a shot to establish themselves long-term after they impressed in Qatar.

William Saliba’s displays for table-topping Arsenal could see him given a more prominent role for France, while Monaco’s Axel Disasi is also likely to be included in the squad.

Having been left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad, Benoit Badiashile may also find himself on the periphery of Deschamps’ thinking for now, with Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo currently ahead of him in the pecking order as well.

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