Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez of Benfica has been acquired by Chelsea for a British transfer record of 121 million euros (£107 million).
The agreement exceeds the £100 million that Manchester City spent on Jack Grealish in 2021.
During Argentina’s World Cup victory in Qatar, Fernandez, who just recently joined Benfica for an estimated £10 million, was named young player of the competition.
According to the trade database Transfermarkt, Chelsea’s January spending increased to £289m with the addition of the 22-year-old.
He committed to Stamford Bridge for eight and a half years.
A record-breaking £270 million was spent by a British team in the summer transfer window, which led to the transaction.
It is comparable to the 120 million euros that Barcelona paid for France forward Antoine Griezmann in 2019 and ranks as the joint-sixth most expensive signing of all time.
Fernandez has four goals in 29 games for the Primeira Liga team since being acquired by Benfica from Argentine club River Plate.
Tuesday night, Benfica announced that River Plate will get 25% of the transfer fee, or about 30 million euros.
He had one goal during the World Cup, which came in Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in the group stage.
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The spending by Chelsea right now is “a shocking, eye-watering amount of money,” according to Ian Dennis, senior football writer for BBC Radio 5 Live.
What a great move by Benfica, who maintained composure despite Chelsea’s persistent pursuit of him throughout the entire window. With a little deception, they were rewarded.
He didn’t start the World Cup, but he was vitally essential to Argentina winning it, according to European football analyst Guillem Balague. It depends on how he interprets the game.
When you consider what he did throughout the World Cup, you may ask yourself, “Really? Is it 121 million euros? However, the answer is no because you didn’t get a complete image. That is not all he is.
“He can play anywhere in the middle of the field. He can play as a holding midfielder, on the right or left, and according to the statistics, he improves passing accuracy while moving. He also scores goals.
“It’s hard to find a player of that type who can still play well when the game becomes extremely intense.”
Benfica accused Chelsea of attempting to unnerve the player earlier in January, and the Portuguese team’s manager Roger Schmidt deemed their chase “closed.”
Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Benoit Badiashile, and Malo Gusto were all acquired by Chelsea in January on long-term contracts.
Joao Felix, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has also been added.
After 20 games, the Blues sit in 10th place in the Premier League, 10 points outside of the Champions League spots.
The club was acquired for £4.25 billion by a group led by American investor Todd Boehly in May of last year after Roman Abramovich, the previous owner, was punished for his connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin.