LONDON – Premier League side Chelsea completed the signing of Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for a record-breaking £106.8 million ($131.46 million) on Wednesday after a complicated day of negotiations. between clubs.
As the clock ticks on the deadline day, it looks like an agreement may not be reached but a statement from Benfica confirms it was agreed just before 23:00 GMT on Tuesday.
It says Chelsea will pay a release clause for the 22-year-old, who has signed an eight-and-a-half-year contract with the London club. Chelsea’s transfer costs in January alone amounted to more than 300 million pounds.
Chelsea still have to officially confirm the completion of the record deal but according to Sky Sports, the paperwork was submitted on time and ahead of schedule.
According to information from the media, Chelsea will pay this fee in installments.
“Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD announce that it has reached an agreement with Chelsea FC for the sale of all rights to player Enzo Fernandez, for the amount of 121,000,000 euros,” a Benfica statement read.
The fee eclipses the £100m Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England midfielder Jack Grealish in 2021.
Fernandez played a key role in Argentina’s World Cup-winning campaign in Qatar, featuring in the starting XI and playing every game, scoring one of the goals in the crucial group stage win over Mexico.
He ended the tournament by winning the Young Player Award.
Fernandez joined Benfica from Argentine side River Plate in July 2022 and has scored four goals in 29 appearances.
Benfica boss Roger Schmidt doesn’t want to see Fernandez go but has said their hands will be tied if a club pays a player’s release clause.
Fernandez is Chelsea’s eighth signing in the mid-season transfer window after the London club signed Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos, David Fofana and Malo Gusto while Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid on loan. All are 23 years old or younger.
On Tuesday, Chelsea sold experienced midfielder Jorginho to Premier League leaders Arsenal for £12m.
Fernandez’s transfer brings Chelsea’s total spending on players since it was taken over last May by an investment group led by Americans Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital to around £600m as they try to Try to rebuild your squad.
Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League, 10 points behind the top 4. Next, they host local rivals Fulham on Friday.
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