Chelsea confirm £107m British record signing of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica

Midfielder completes move that beats previous biggest deal when Manchester City paid £100m for Jack Grealish in 2021

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Chelsea have completed the £107 million British record signing of World Cup winning midfielder Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

The Portuguese club announced overnight that the deal had been completed, while Chelsea hailed Fernandez’s capture on Wednesday morning on their official website. “Enzo Fernandez is a Blue! The Argentinian midfielder has completed his transfer from Benfica to Chelsea.”

The 22-year-old's deal was Chelsea's eighth of a frenetic transfer window that has seen owner Todd Boehly splash out around £320m. The Blues’ spending since Boehly bought the club last May has now reached more than £550m.

Fernandez, who won the Silver Ball for best young player during Argentina’s triumphant World Cup in Qatar last year, has signed an eight-and-a-half-year contract, in keeping with the club’s policy this season of signing players on lengthy terms in order to spread their outgoings and remain within Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules.

He joined Benfica in July 2022 from River Plate, who have a 25 per cent sell-on clause. He bagged four goals and seven assists in 29 games in all competitions for Benfica this season.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt was not keen on seeing Fernandez leave but had said their hands would be tied if a club paid the player's release clause.

It is the sixth most expensive signing of all time – according to – behind only Joao Felix (€126, Benfica to Atletico Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (€135m Liverpool to Barcelona), Ousmane Dembele (€140m, Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona) Kylian Mbappe (€180m, Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain), and Neymar (€222m, Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain).

Chelsea have signed Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Benoit Badiashile and Malo Gusto on permanent deals in the January transfer window that closed on Tuesday night. All are aged 23 or under.

The pressure will now be on manager Graham Potter to quickly improve the club's fortunes. They are currently 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of the top four places after 20 matches and face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions league last-16 later in February.

Chelsea sold experienced midfielder Jorginho to Premier League leaders Arsenal for £12m on Tuesday, while Paris Saint-Germain's attempt to sign Moroccan attacker Hakim Ziyech on loan appeared to have failed.

But on Wednesday, PSG asked the French league to approve the deal despite the necessary paperwork for the move arriving after Tuesday's January transfer deadline, the club told AFP.

The 29-year-old winger had passed a medical and both clubs had reached an agreement for the player to be loaned to PSG until the end of the season.

However, according to two sources close to the deal, the Premier League club failed to send the required documents in time for Ziyech to be registered in the Fifa system that validates all international transfers.

Updated: February 01, 2023, 1:04 PM