Enzo Fernandez thanks Chelsea ownership for forcing through record-breaking transfer from Benfica
- Enzo speaks out following transfer
- 'Grateful' for efforts in getting deal done
- Chelsea snapped up Argentine on deadline day
WHAT HAPPENED? It took walking away from a deal, returning to the table and then not leaving until Fernandez was a Chelsea player for the Blues to get what they wanted from Benfica in January. With the move finally done and the 22-year-old now officially Chelsea's new No.5, following the departure of Jorginho to Arsenal, he spoke out on the switch.
WHAT THEY SAID: Fernandez told Chelsea's official website: "I am grateful to Chelsea and its ownership for doing everything they could to make me a part of this project.
"I’m happy and excited to join the Pride of London, to play in the best league in the world and to compete for the biggest trophies. I can’t wait to play in front of our fans and help my teammates on and off the pitch."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The £106.8 million ($131m) transfer makes Fernandez Chelsea's club-record signing and the British record signing, pipping Jack Grealish and his £100m move to Manchester City in 2021. Benfica were extremely reluctant to let go of their World Cup winning midfielder, though, and ensured Chelsea paid a mammoth fee in order to get their eighth signing of the transfer window over the line.
Fernandez appeared desperate to make the move and had agreed terms with Chelsea in the early weeks of January, but there were several moments on deadline day were the switch hung in the balance and could've collapsed over the structuring of the deal, with Chelsea also wary of breaching FFP regulations.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDEZ? With the transfer complete and the number assigned, focus turns to when the World Cup's Young Player of the Tournament will make his debut for Graham Potter and, crucially, whether he will make the cut for their revised Champions League squad.