Chelsea close to securing Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea have reportedly bid an eyewatering €120 million for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, matching his reported release clause. There is no clear indication from the Portuguese club whether the bid will be accepted, but there are reports that Chelsea are confident in securing his signature.
The move would make the 22-year-old the most expensive Premier League signing ever at £105.6 million, eclipsing Jack Grealish’s £100m move to Manchester City 18 months ago. Chelsea would likely have to structure the payment in yearly installments in order to comply with Financial Fair Play rules, after already spending close to £200 million this month and £270 million in the Summer of 2022. There are reports they are going to pay it in six installments.
The bid has been the culmination of a month-long pursuit of the Argentine midfielder, who has made it clear he would like to join the Blues. They have reportedly already agreed personal terms.
If the sale goes through, Benfica would receive more than six times the fee they reportedly paid in June, representing a remarkable bit of business.
Fernandez has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining Benfica in June 2022. He made his first Champions League appearance in August 2022 and has already played a key part in two draws against PSG. He won the Premiera Liga player of the month three times already, in August, October and November.
His sparkling club form landed him a spot on the Argentine national team at World Cup 2022. He was one of the breakout stars, winning young player of the tournament. He also had a vital role in the final and was one of only four outfield players to play the whole 120 minutes.
What he brings to Chelsea
Fernandez is a fantastic, young midfielder. He has a great eye for a pass, is an excellent ball carrier and is a diligent defender.
However, it is hard to profile him properly given he has made just over 100 appearances for club and country. At Benfica he has played in a deeper-lying role, but it is unclear if he is more suited to a box-to-box role at the Premier League level.
Therefore, there is a certain risk in buying him, but based on his performances in the World Cup he could become one of the best young midfielders in the world.
Regardless of his profile, he certainly fits Chelsea’s transfer model under owner Todd Boehly. They have been buying young, talented players and signing them on long contracts. Whilst they still need an out-and-out No. 9, they have filled several holes in their squad with long-term contracts.
Chelsea manager Graham Potter’s squad has the potential to be great for several years or be a very expensive failure.
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