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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jack Rathborn

Enzo Fernandez details reasons for joining Chelsea in record transfer


Chelsea have completed the signing of Enzo Fernandez for £106m, in what is a British transfer record.

The Blues met Benfica’s release clause for the Argentina midfielder shortly before Tuesday’s 11pm transfer deadline.

A statement from the Portuguese side confirmed the deal past midnight, after Chelsea had rushed to complete the transfer.

It takes Chelsea’s spending this month to over £300m, while the transfer of Fernandez breaks the previous Premier League record set by Manchester City and their £100m signing of Jack Grealish in August 2021.

The 22-year-old Fernandez was named the best young player at the World Cup and starred for Argentina as they lifted the trophy in Qatar. He was signed by Benfica for around €10 million last summer and had made just 29 appearances for the club.

Benfica were adamant that Fernandez would not be sold at a price below his release clause and Chelsea eventually met their demands shortly before the 11pm transfer deadline, when an agreement was reached between the clubs over the structure of the payments.

River Plate, who were Fernandez’s first club in Argentina, will receive 25 per cent of the fee due to a sell-on clause included in the previous deal.

Fernandez is set to sign an eight-and-a-half-year contract at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea continued their approach of signing up some of the game’s most promising young stars to long-term deals.

The signing of Fernandez is Chelsea’s seventh major transfer of the January window, following Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Malo Gusto, Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana. Joao Felix has also arrived on loan until the end of the season.

In total, Chelsea have spent more this month than the rest of the Premier League combined did in January 2022.

Jorginho signs for Arsenal as Manchester United quickly turn to Sabitzer loan

Chelsea had earlier seen a midfielder leave Stamford Bridge as Jorginho joined Arsenal on an 18-month deal.

The 31-year-old Italy international moved across London after Arsenal had been keen to strengthen their midfield options following Mohamed Elneny’s serious knee injury earlier in the month.

Manchester United, meanwhile, completed their shock loan signing of Marcel Sabitzer. The Red Devils made their move for the Bayern Munich midfielder after it emerged that Christian Eriksen would be ruled out until early May, with the 28-year-old arriving on loan until the end of the season.

Tottenham announced the signing of Pedro Porro from Sporting Lisbon 10 minutes before the deadline.

The 23-year-old wing-back has signed on loan until the end of the season with an obligation to make the move permanent in the summer.

Spurs were finally able to get Porro’s transfer over the line (Getty Images)

Spurs had earlier torn up Matt Doherty’s contract to allow the Republic of Ireland full-back to join Atletico Madrid.

Doherty’s departure was initially set to be temporary, but that would have taken Tottenham up to nine players out on loan and FIFA’s limit is eight.

Djed Spence, another Spurs full-back, has joined Ligue 1 side Rennes for the rest of the season.

Bournemouth completed a busy January with the deadline-day signings of Illia Zabarnyi and Hamed Traore.

Ukraine defender Zabarnyi has penned a five-and-a-half-year deal after leaving Dynamo Kyiv, while Ivory Coast midfielder Traore joins from Serie A outfit Sassuolo on an initial loan agreement which will become permanent in the summer for a further five years.

Nottingham Forest also had a frenetic finish to the window with three signings in the final hour or so before the deadline.

Veteran defender Felipe came in from Atletico Madrid, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey joined from Newcastle and goalkeeper Keylor Navas signed on loan from Paris St Germain.

Crystal Palace added to their midfield resources with Stuttgart’s Naouirou Ahamada and Albert Sambi Lokonga, who has agreed a loan deal from Arsenal until the end of the season.

Fulham signed Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic for a reported fee of around £9m.

Lukic, who joins his fellow Serbian international Aleksandar Mitrovic at Craven Cottage, has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal, with Fulham holding an option to extend by a further 12 months.

Leeds saw Diego Llorente leave for Roma on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal, but signed a player for the future in 18-year-old centre-back Diogo Monteiro from Swiss Super League side Servette.

Leicester signed Australia defender Harry Souttar from Stoke on a five-and-a-half year deal, with Ayoze Perez joining Real Betis for the rest of the season.

Southampton spent a potential club record on Kamaldeen Sulemana from Rennes, with the Ghana forward’s arrival costing a potential £22m.

Additional reporting by PA

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