The Argentine, best young player in the World Cup in Qatar, moves from Benfica to the Blues in exchange for the highest sum ever paid by an English club
Chelsea did it. He persuaded Benfica to let Enzo Fernandez leave immediately, completing his record transfer market with a record transfer.
The best young player in the World Cup in Qatar costs the Blues €120m, the highest amount ever paid by an English club, bringing his January transfer market total to €368.5m on 8 players: more than all other clubs from Europe’s top leagues combined. Fernandez said yes to a contract until 2031 and took a flight to London. Only one last obstacle remains: completing the necessary papers by midnight in Italy, when the English market closes.
Chelsea’s pursuit of Fernandez lasted more than a month. The Blues fell in love with the 22-year-old Argentinian in Qatar, asked about him at Benfica at Christmas and seemed to have already closed by early January. Then the deal stopped, because the Lisbon team was convinced that Chelsea would immediately pay the release clause of 120 million euros while the Blues, for reasons of financial fair play, needed to pay it in installments. The deal seemed off, Fernandez had resumed playing with Benfica and everything seemed to be postponed until the summer. In the last few days, however, Chelsea have returned to show up, putting the 120 million euro release clause on the plate but insisting on payment by installments. Manuel Rui Costa, the former Fiorentina and Milan midfielder, held out until the end, but in the end, thanks to the will of the player who has repeatedly asked to be let go, he gave in and found a compromise with Chelsea.
The Argentine had arrived at Benfica in the summer for 12 million euros: in the 17 games played in the Portuguese championship he produced 5 assists, to which must be added 1 in the 5 matches in the group stage of the Champions League. But it was with the sensational World Cup played in Qatar (7 games of which 5 as a starter, with 1 goal and 1 assist and 120′ in the final against France) and with the award for best young player in the competition that the 21-year-old entered another dimension . The one in which a team like Chelsea is ready to pay any amount necessary to have him. Even if it is the highest amount ever paid by a British club. The Blues have convinced themselves that Fernandez is the right man on which to build their midfield for the present and above all for the future, one of those talented youngsters that Boehly wants in his team. That’s why they did everything to get him straight, with Benfica finally convinced that the 120 million euros straight away, even in installments, were better than what they could get in the summer.
Chelsea thus closes a sensational transfer market with the icing on the cake. Boehly has once again spared no expense, reaching a total of €700m invested in players since he completed his purchase of the club at the end of May. If the summer window was the most onerous in the history of the international market, this one in January earns another place in history. The Blues had started it by giving Monaco 40 million for 21-year-old defender Badiashile, they continued it by taking young players on the launch pad with the peak reached up to 100 million paid to have Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakthar Donetsk (João Feliz’s loan from Atletico Madrid, paid 11 million anyway, is the exception). Until this sensational record for Fernandez, the most expensive player in the history of the English transfer market. Chelsea are convinced they can also make their own history.
January 31, 2023 (change January 31, 2023 | 23:55)
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