Meet Chelsea’s New Striker: David Datro Fofana

Chelsea recently completed the signing of Ivorian forward David Datro Fofana from Norwegian club, Molde, in an £11m ($12m) deal ahead of the 2023 January transfer window.

The 20-year-old wonderkid will hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Ivorian, Didier Drogba, at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s search for a new striker was made more urgent following Armando Broja’s anterior cruciate ligament injury — which will see him miss the rest of the season.

In this piece, FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about the Blues’ new signing.

David Datro Fofana was born on the 22nd of December 2002 in Ouragahio, Ivory Coast.

Ivorian footballers, Wilfried Singo, Serge Aurier, Franck Kessié and Siriki Dembélé were all born in Ouragahio.

Fofana started playing street football in his hometown after getting rejected by multiple local academies.

“I was shaped in the streets. I’m not like the others, not educated. I am not a product of the academies. Everything comes from the streets,”

Street football has a bit of everything: technique, physicality and finishing because you play with tiny goals. You have to be very accurate to score.”

“I was confident in my talent, but they (the academies) said ‘no’. They said ‘you are good, but something is missing’. I wasn’t what they were looking for. “I went from one place to another but got the same message…(rejection)”

Eventually, he joined Academie de Foot Amadou Diallo (AFAD) in the capital city of Abidjan. His performances at AFAD caught the attention of several European clubs.

At last, Fofana agreed to join Norwegian giants, Molde, on a free transfer in February 2021 — signing a 4-year contract.

He made his Molde debut in a 3-3 Europa League match versus Hoffenheim on the 18th of February 2021 — scoring a debut goal.

Datro progressed rapidly in Norway and gradually became Molde’s best player. His displays drew the attention of several top clubs.

He scored 21 goals and provided 7 assists in 37 appearances to help Molde win the league and the Norwegian Cup in 2022.

Totally, Fofana netted 24 goals and provided 10 assists in 65 games for Molde.

At the club, they predicted a career trajectory similar to that of Erling Haaland for him. Haaland played for Molde from February 2017 to August 2019.

This is not surprising as Fofana scored more goals for Molde than Manchester City’s summer signing.

Fun Fact: David Datro Fofana lived in the former appartment of Erling Haaland at Molde.

The Ivorian’s progress at Molde was being monitored by multiple Premier League clubs. Liverpool, Brighton, Brentford and Leicester were all keeping an eye on him.

Fofana revealed in an interview that he dreams of playing in the Premier League, saying:

“My league is the English one,” “I want to go to the Premier League. If I get there, I’ll never leave. I have to end up there. If Molde can send me directly to England, that’s fine with me. I adapt to everything. I will succeed there. Then it’s over.”

David Fofana at Chelsea

His dream came true on the 23rd of December 2022 as Premier League giants, Chelsea, reached an agreement with Molde that will see Datro Fofana join them in January 2023.

The Blues paid £11m ($12m) for him — making him the most expensive player sold by a Norwegian club in history.

Coincidentally, Fofana has been a Chelsea fan since childhood and is a huge admirer of Blues legend, Didier Drogba.

“Chelsea have been my favourite club since I was little,” “Drogba played there, so they have always been my club. So it’s my dream.”

Datro Fofana while speaking to Norwegian outlet TV2.

David Fofana now has the chance of emulating fellow Ivorians Drogba and Salomon Kalou at Stamford Bridge.

His arrival at Chelsea continues the trend of new owner, Todd Boehly, who has been targeting youngsters with high potentials for the future.

The club have already signed young prospects like Gabriel Slonina, Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei.

International career

Fofana made his international debut with Ivory Coast in a 2-0 CHAN 2020 loss to Niger in September 2019 at the age of 16.

Datro Fofana’s style of play

David Datro Fofana is a right-footed striker that can also play on both wings.

Furthermore, he has a powerful right foot and can shoot the ball from long range. He is equally very fast and an instinctive finisher.

Still very raw, his team-play needs to improve though. He is also too aggressive off the ball.

At 5 foot 11 inches tall and with a big frame, Fofana can play as a target man like Drogba famously did.

Fofana likes holding the ball up to buy time for his team-mates to get forward — a very valuable asset to posses in the English Premier League.

His greatest attribute is his dribbling ability. He makes fool of opposition players, gliding past them with relative ease.

With an average of 2.8 take-ons per 90 minutes completed in 2022, only one player in the Norwegian league had a better dribbling record than Fofana.

Lastly, with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Kai Havertz the only options left for manager Graham Potter; the arrival of Datro Fofana is expected to bolster Chelsea’s attacking options.

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