St Etienne defender Wesley Fofana has undergone his medical ahead of a move to Leicester City for a fee that could rise to £30m.
The French club confirmed the transfer on Tuesday evening, stating it will be the largest transfer fee they have ever received and that the uncertain economic environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic was a major factor in accepting the bid for the teenager.
- Vardy hat-trick as Leicester hit five to floor Man City
- Rodri slams 'lucky' Leicester tactics
- Transfer Centre
Fofana, who has been vocal about his desire to come to the Premier League after a breakout season in Ligue 1, was also a target for West Ham, but they are now exploring alternative options.
"The decision to sell the player was taken collegially by the management board and the shareholders," a St Etienne statement said.
"ASSE accepted Leicester's exceptional offer, especially given the uncertain economic context caused by the health crisis."
Fofana will undergo a medical in Germany on Wednesday, as coronavirus rules mean he is unable to travel to England at this stage of the deal.
The 19-year-old will then travel to Leicester to discuss personal terms, which is not expected to be an issue.
Leicester are also talks with Sampdoria over a deal to sell midfielder Adrien Silva.
Silva joined Leicester for £22.5m on Deadline Day in the summer of 2017, but only has a year left on his current contract.
As a result, a loan is not a feasible option for Leicester, but if the two clubs can agree a fee, Brendan Rodgers is prepared to allow him to leave.
Leicester's priority this summer has been a centre-back and they have also been in regular contact for James Tarkowski from Burnley, but the signing of Fofana is likely to end their interest in the England international.
Fofana is set to become Leicester's third signing of the summer, following the arrival of full-back Timothy Castagne from Atalanta and Turkey winger Cengiz Under on loan from Roma.
'West Ham interest has played into Saint-Etienne hands'
French football expert Jonathan Johnson told The Transfer Show:
"The interest from West Ham has played into Saint-Etienne's favour, an offer was tabled over the weekend by Leicester which could rise up to around the €40m mark. That's a figure Saint-Etienne cannot ignore.
"Selling Fofana would allow them to invest in the squad a little bit but also set aside their financial worries that have been brought on by the coronavirus freeze earlier this year.
"If West Ham were to come in with a bigger bid, they'd prefer that. It's as simple as the highest bidder would be Saint-Etienne's preference."
Analysis: 'Fofana can turn into something special'
Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show:
"Saint-Etienne have an incredible record when it comes to selling young centre-backs. They sold Kurt Zouma, they sold William Saliba and now they're selling Wesley Fofana.
"He's a very good player and is supposed to be one of the best young centre-backs in Europe but he's only played 14 league games for Saint-Etienne. He really has developed under Claude Puel, the former Leicester manager.
Save over 25% with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass
Catch the action for only £25 a month with this limited time offer. Watch the Premier League, Formula 1, PGA Tour and much more. Cancel any time.
"What is interesting is that lots of other clubs were interested in him, including AC Milan and West Ham. The latter made an offer last week that in total came to £33m but we were told that the offer was always unlikely to succeed because of the payment terms West Ham were proposing. They were only going to offer €4m up front and they were going to pay the rest in instalments.
"The offer Leicester have put together is much more attractive. There was a bit of reluctance on Puel's part to lose Fofana, especially to a club he used to manage, but Leicester have increased their offer and got it to a place where Saint-Etienne are comfortable with.
"Fofana is a young centre-back who really can develop into something special. Sources at Saint-Etienne say he is going to become one of the stars of French football and now he's going to do that at Leicester."