Explained: Why Chelsea are pursuing record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer in January

Enzo Fernandez Argentina World Cup 2022
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The Blues have reignited their interest in the Argentina hero and are pushing hard to strike a deal before the transfer window slams shut - but why?

Chelsea are back in for Benfica's Enzo Fernandez having failed with a pursuit of the Argentine at the beginning of January, but this time they look much more likely to land the World Cup's breakout star.

The 22-year-old shone for La Albiceleste as they were crowned world champions in Qatar and has been the talk of the town ever since. Chelsea signalled their intent earlier on in January with a handful of failed bids before stepping away from the deal, but have since returned and are optimistic about getting it over the line with their latest bid.

Having already splashed the cash to steal Mykhailo Mudryk from Arsenal's grasp, while also strengthening by signing Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile, Malo Gusto and several others, Chelsea are proving they will go to any stretch to craft the ultimate squad this month.

So, why have they made the decision to come back in for Fernandez with such little time remaining before the window closes? GOAL takes a look.

  1. A loophole being closed up

    A loophole being closed up

    Chelsea's rampant spending spree wasn't the only thing catching the eyes of football fans this month. As well as signing anyone in their line of sight, the Blues made headlines for the unusually long contracts they were handing out.

    Mudryk signed an eight-and-a-half year deal, while Badiashile penned a seven-and-a-half year contract. Newest recruit Gusto has also signed through to 2030.

    They began issuing such lengthy deals as a way to better balance the books and allow them to continue spending. Chelsea have been able to spread the cost of transfers over a significantly longer period of time in order to comply with Financial Fair Play, but their crafty loophole has already been cracked down on.

    UEFA have since decided to enforce a five-year contract limit that stops clubs from doing just that. It makes sense, then, that Chelsea try to get a deal for Fernandez over the line now before that ruling comes into action, so they can better finance the mega transfer fee he will command.

  2. Jorginho's impending departure

    Jorginho's impending departure

    Time is inevitable, and unfortunately for Jorginho, it's catching up to him fast.

    Since placing third in the Ballon d'Or rankings in 2021, the Italian midfielder has been unable to re-capture any of the form that earned him such acclaim.

    Chelsea's midfield has been a serious weak point this season, with ageing legs proving problematic. The Blues cannot afford a repeat of their struggles next season, and Graham Potter needs reinforcements to get a new era properly underway.

    Getting Fernandez over the line this month gives the manager some much-needed options for an injury-hit midfield, and gets the ball in motion ahead of a summer clearout.

  3. Fernandez wants the move
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    Fernandez wants the move

    Since Chelsea made their interest known, Fernandez wasn't shy in making his intentions clear; Stamford Bridge was his priority.

    He missed training at the beginning of the month after Chelsea had bid for him in an attempt to speed up a potential move, and is reported to have had personal terms agreed for weeks - despite a public show of loyalty to Benfica.

    With the player so keen, it makes sense for Chelsea to push now and get it done while they hold a stronger negotiating position and Benfica hold a weaker one.

  4. Mounting interest in Conor Gallagher

    Mounting interest in Conor Gallagher

    Not only would Gallagher's potential departure leave Chelsea even lighter in midfield, it would also line their pockets even more.

    Everton have submitted a bid worth £45 million ($55m) in total for the English midfielder, who has only managed to impress in spells since returning from his breakout loan at Crystal Palace last season. He hasn't set the world alight under Potter and moving him on could be key to help rebuild the squad and in supporting one final push for Fernandez.

    The money recouped from his sale would seriously help the Blues at the negotiating table, and the upgrade would be a huge one.

  5. Arsenal's pursuit of Moises Caicedo
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    Arsenal's pursuit of Moises Caicedo

    Chelsea have already beaten Arsenal to a key signing once this month, snatching away Mudryk at the death.

    However, with the two clubs locking horns again over Brighton wantaway Caicedo, it looks as though the Gunners are determined to win the race.

    Arsenal have had two bids rejected by Brighton for the exciting midfield talent, but are expected to go back in with another offer. Chelsea could be wasting time in a battle they are only going to lose, and know Fernandez is keen on joining the club.

    They have to pick their fights wisely, thus going all in for Fernandez and saying no to Caicedo is a safer bet.

  6. Interest could pile up in the summer
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    Interest could pile up in the summer

    Despite Fernandez having already agreed terms with Chelsea, they run a huge risk of him having his head turned by other opportunities if they fail to get a deal done now.

    The Blues are in complete control of the transfer market at the moment, but in the summer, plenty of top teams will be circling and desperate to improve their squad.

    Whoever signs Fernandez is completely set up for the future, and if Chelsea leave that deal to stall, their biggest European rivals will have no problem swooping in to match Benfica's asking price.

    It may be now or never for Chelsea to sign the incredible talent.