Chelsea sign Enzo Fernandez for a stunning British record £107million from Benfica, with co-owner Behdad Eghbali key to pushing the move over the line as the midfielder signs an EIGHT-and-a-half-year deal
Chelsea caused a stir with Enzo Fernandez for a British record £107million after agreeing a deal with Benfica late on deadline day.
The tantalizing eye for Chelsea’s January No.1 target headed into the final minutes of the transfer window as the two clubs passed talks over the Argentina international’s transfer on Tuesday.
At one point it looked like Chelsea would fail to secure the 22-year-old World Cup winner’s deal – but the two sides finally made a breakthrough minutes before the 11pm deadline. Fernandez will sign an eight-and-a-half-year contract until June 2031.
Chelsea and Benfica have agreed a £105m deal for midfielder Enzo Fernandez (left)
He has been one of the highest rated players in the world since his performances at the World Cup
Benfica confirmed the move in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the clubs completed the necessary paperwork before the deadline. The Portuguese club have also removed Fernandez from their squad list on the club’s website.
The Blues teased an announcement by changing their Twitter bio to an Argentina flag followed by a trophy emoji.
Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali – who also sanctioned Jorginho’s move to Arsenal on Tuesday – led negotiations for the World Cup winner with London’s Benfica.
Chelsea teased an announcement about the Fernandez deal by changing their Twitter bio
Benfica issued a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming the deal
Sources had previously indicated that Chelsea could come up short and were ready to focus on completing a summer move for Fernandez as securing a deal for this season was proving too difficult.
But Tuesday night’s deal was met with huge relief given the club’s determination to complete the move in January.
It is understood that the biggest hurdle the Londoners were trying to overcome was agreeing a record fee payment plan with Benfica.
Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali (left) is believed to have played a key role in securing the deal
Chelsea wanted to pay in six installments, including a larger upfront payment.
Benfica, however, originally wanted Chelsea to pay Fernandez’s £105million release clause in one go. Tuesday’s talks were mainly aimed at negotiating this hurdle, with Chelsea offering to reduce the number of installments.
It is believed that Benfica were willing to accept a payment structure in three installments over two years and that common ground was eventually found. Fernandez has always been open to a move but decided to stay out of the talks out of respect for Benfica.
Despite the delay, Chelsea made preparations for his medical in Portugal and arranged a private jet to fly him to England. He is due to board the flight on Wednesday morning after completing the relevant paperwork.
The deal comes after Jorginho (pictured) swapped Chelsea for Arsenal in a £12m move
Benfica left the 22-year-old out of their squad to face Arouca on Tuesday and he also missed training on Monday. Personal terms had already been agreed.
The signing brings Chelsea’s total spending in January to over £323million.
In a seismic day for the Stamford Bridge club, the Blues also sold Jorginho to Arsenal in a deal worth up to £12million. The Gunners turned to the Italian on Monday after conceding defeat in their bid to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton.
They will pay an upfront fee of £10million for the midfielder, who has signed an 18-month contract with an option for a further year.
On manager Mikel Arteta’s role in his arrival at the Gunners, Jorginho said: “He tried many times to get me before and it didn’t happen for other reasons, not because of my wishes. ” So, of course, he had a big influence.