Veron, Higuain & the Argentines to have played for Chelsea before Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez Chelsea Juan Veron Gonzalo Higuain
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With Enzo Fernandez the latest Argentine to step out in a Chelsea shirt, GOAL takes a look at the other Albiceleste stars to feature in west London.

Chelsea's £600 million ($723m) spending spree in 2022-23 was capped off with the £106.8m ($131m) signing of the 21-year-old midfielder, a British record fee.

Fernandez joined the Blues having spent less than half a year with Benfica, but with an impressive showing at the 2022 World Cup to his name, where he won the Young Player of the Tournament.

Chelsea's new No.5 impressed on his debut, and was one of the few high points in a drab 0-0 affair with local rivals Fulham.

Fernandez, then, has already shown promise, although many of his fellow countrymen haven't always enjoyed the same success during their time at Stamford Bridge.

With that in mind, GOAL takes a look at the Argentines to don the blue of Chelsea, as well as the one that got away...

  1. Juan Sebastian Veron

    Juan Sebastian Veron

    After breaking the then-British transfer record with his £28.1m ($33.9m) move to Manchester United in 2001, Juan Sebastian Veron made the trip south for almost half that amount two years later.

    The Argentine became one of the first acquisitions of the Roman Abramovich era, signing for £15m ($18.1m) amid a season of promise for the Blues.

    Despite a blistering start to the 2003-04 campaign with the opening goal in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield, Veron's campaign was blighted by injury and he went on to make just 14 appearances for the club.

    After just one season in west London and one goal to his name, the midfielder was sent to Inter on a two-year loan, with The Times later listing the move in the top 50 worst transfers in the Premier League era.

  2. Hernan Crespo
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    Hernan Crespo

    Chelsea welcomed Veron alongside compatriot Hernan Crespo, who signed for the Blues from Inter for a reported fee of £16.8m ($20.3m).

    In his first season at the club, the Argentine made 31 appearances in all competitions and scored 12 goals, but was considered surplus to requirements following the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2004.

    The recent Champions League winner had overseen the signing of Didier Drogba from Marseille and consequently loaned Crespo to AC Milan, where he scored twice in their infamous Champions League final loss against Liverpool.

    Crespo then returned to Chelsea for one more season as competition for the misfiring Drogba, but requested a return to Italy a year later, eventually joining Inter having racked up 25 goals in 73 appearances for the Blues.

  3. Franco di Santo

    Franco di Santo

    18-year-old Franco di Santo signed in 2008 from Chilean side Audax Italiano with the promise of leading Chelsea's frontline for years to come.

    Dubbed the "new Maradona" in his native Argentina as well as 'Crespito' after Chelsea's former No.9, Di Santo was highly regarded as one of the most promising young forwards of his generation.

    However, he never really kicked on in west London, with most of his appearances coming for Chelsea's reserve team.

    Di Santo played just eight times for the senior side with a return of no goals. He joined Blackburn Rovers on loan in 2009 before making a permanent move to Wigan Athletic a year later.

  4. Willy Caballero
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    Willy Caballero

    Goalkeeper Willy Caballero joined reigning Premier League champions Chelsea in the summer of 2017 on a free transfer from Manchester City.

    Caballero was best known for his penalty-saving abilities, prompting arguably his most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt.

    In the 2019-20 League Cup final against Manchester City, first-choice keeper and record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted for Caballero, humiliating head coach Maurizio Sarri before Chelsea eventually lost the shoot-out 4-3.

    Caballero joined Southampton in 2021 having made just 11 appearances for the Blues.

  5. Gonzalo Higuain

    Gonzalo Higuain

    Another short stint as a Chelsea player and yet another striker to suffer from the infamous 'No.9 curse', Gonzalo Higuain joined on loan from Juventus in January 2019 for the remainder of the campaign.

    The three-time Spanish and Italian champion reunited with his former Napoli manager Sarri, and scored his first goals in an impressive brace against league strugglers Huddersfield Town.

    Higuain was part of Chelsea's Europa League-winning squad despite featuring just once for them in the competition, before leaving in the summer after the Blues rejected the chance to extend his loan.

    Higuain returned to Juve having recorded four goals in 18 matches, where he would once again be joined by Sarri following his dismissal as Chelsea boss.

  6. And the one that got away...

    And the one that got away...

    Thus far, Chelsea's history with Argentine players has been largely unsuccessful, with many underwhelming upon their arrival at Stamford Bridge.

    The story could have been very different, though, had the Blues landed Lionel Messi in the early 2010s.

    Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported in 2013 that the player's sponsor, adidas, had offered to pay half of Messi's £210m ($253m) release clause, with the Blues one of three potential suitors alongside Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

    Then in 2014, when Jose Mourinho was enjoying his second stint as Blues manager, Chelsea were in contact with Messi's lawyers over a potential move to the Premier League, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

    Eventually, though, the deal collapsed due to Messi's commitment to Barcelona and his family being settled in Catalonia. Chelsea, meanwhile, were left to rue what might have been...