Chelsea completed a British transfer record deal for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez on deadline day.
The Blues shelled out a fee of around £105 million on the 22-year-old Argentine World Cup winner.
Fernandez had been linked with Chelsea since the start of the month but at one point it seemed like the Blues would miss out on their priority midfield target. With Benfica unwilling to budge on their demands, Chelsea finally managed to get the deal across the line by paying a premium.
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As per Fabrizio Romano’s exclusive CaughtOffside column on Substack that the player had a key role in the transfer.
Revealing behind-the-scenes details of the transfer, Romano claimed that Fernandez ended up praying to the Benfica president Rui Costa to let him leave this month.
The player did his best to force a move to Chelsea at the start of the month by skipping training, but he remained professional towards Benfica towards the end of the window. Apparently, Rui Costa had no intention of letting the player leave this month until the last few minutes of the window.
Romano said: “The Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea deal was a really mad one – many things happened behind the scenes.
It’s important to start by saying the player has been crucial. When everything started in January, the player was pushing very hard, and skipped training. When talks started again towards the end of January, Enzo remained very professional, but was praying for president Rui Costa to let him join Chelsea. The president had no intention to accept until the final few minutes of the transfer window, so Enzo was crucial.”
It will be interesting to see if Fernandez can now hit the ground running and make an immediate impact in the Premier League. The 22-year-old has all the attributes to succeed in England and he could form a quality partnership alongside Mateo Kovacic at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield.