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SPORTS | 31-01-2023 22:56

121 million euros – Chelsea sign Enzo Fernández for Premier League-record fee

Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernández gets the move he wanted and signs for Chelsea for a Premier League record fee of 121 million euros.

Chelsea have signed World Cup winner Enzo Fernández from Benfica for a British-record 121 million euros (US$131 million), the Portuguese club announced early on Wednesday.

The midfielder, 22, was named Best Young Player of the World Cup for his displays during Argentina's successful campaign in Qatar.

The £106.8 million fee eclipses the previous record of £100 million that Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021. It also means that Enzo Fernández is now the most expensive Argentine player in history, having surpassed Gonzalo Higuaín’s 90-million-euro move from Napoli to Juventus in 2016.

The ex-River Plate star has signed an eight-and-half-year deal that will run until 2031.

Fernández only joined Portuguese giants Benfica in July last year, for a reported fee of around £10 million.

Todd Boehly's consortium has spent hundreds of millions since buying Chelsea at the end of last season in the hope that his extra splurge will lift the club from 10th place in the Premier League.

News of Enzo’s departure did not go down well with Benfica coach Roger Schmidt, who expressed annoyance at losing a key player mid-season.

“The deal is done, it's part of football, but what matters is Benfica. I'm not going to talk about players who are no longer there," he told Sport TV after his side defeated Arouca 3-0 in the Portuguese league on Tuesday night.

“Benfica is much bigger than any one player. We need players who are happy playing for the team. If a player decides on his own that he wants to leave and a club pays the clause, we can't do anything,” he added.

As well as his new side, another team will be rejoicing at the news of Fernández’s switch from Lisbon to London: local giants River Plate, his former club.

The Millonario, according to reports, negotiated a 25-percent sell-on clause in his transfer to Benfica, meaning River are set for a windfall of some 32.5 million euros in the coming months and years.

 

Expensive imports: Argentines playing in the Premier League

The eye-watering transfer sees Fernández become the latest in a long line of Argentines who have recently moved to the Premier League. When he makes his début in the coming weeks, the midfielder will become the 14th Argentine currently plying his trade in England’s top flight.

Speaking earlier this week, Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero – who spent a decade playing for current champions Manchester City – said that there is a “new generation” of Argentines who are lighting up the Premier League.

"There are many Argentine players who will soon show their worth. Brighton signing Buonanotte, Maximo Perrone coming to my beloved Manchester City,” said the retired striker.

One of the reasons for the influx is improved scouting in the region by Premier League clubs. 

English sides regularly used to sign Latin American players from other sides in European football, once the footballers had moved and settled in Europe. However, an increasing number of Premier League clubs are now going direct to the source, as it was, hoping to pick up stars earlier in their careers for lower fees.

Recent examples include Facundo Buonanotte’s move to Brighton from Rosario Central and Máximo Perrone’s switch from Vélez Sarsfield to Manchester City.


 

Argentines in the EPL:

 

– Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa)

– Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa)

– Marcos Senesi: (Bournemouth)

– Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton)

– Facundo Buonanotte (Brighton)

– Enzo Fernández (Chelsea)

– Julián Álvarez (Manchester City)

– Máximo Perrone (Manchester City)

– Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United)

– Lisandro Martínez (Manchester United)

– Willy Caballero (Southampton)

– Carlos Alcaraz (Southampton)

– Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur)

– Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United)

 


– TIMES/AFP/PERFIL

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