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In Focus: Excellent Enzo can give Chelsea's rivals the Blues
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Mitchell Fretton
Enzo Fernandez joined Chelsea from Benfica on deadline day
Enzo Fernandez joined Chelsea from Benfica on deadline day

Chelsea broke the British transfer record to bring Enzo Fernandez to Stamford Bridge, paying £106.8million to acquire the Argentine midfielder from Benfica.

Blues owner Todd Boehly will expect the 22-year-old to make an instant impact for Graham Potter's side.

As the Premier League giants prepare to host Fulham in tonight's West London derby, we look at what the World Cup winner has to offer.

Rise to fame

Fernandez was a little-known talent when he joined Benfica from River Plate last summer, but it turns out that the Primeira Liga leaders put their eggs in the right basket and the South American did not disappoint.

He established himself as a regular starter for the Eagles, before heading to Qatar to take part in his first World Cup.

Having only made his debut for La Albiceleste last September, he shone at the global showpiece, picking up the competition's Young Player of the Tournament award.

The sudden rise to prominence hugely inflated his price tag and interest in the young star, with Chelsea eventually winning the battle to land his signature.

With Jorginho leaving the Blues to join London rivals Arsenal and N'Golo Kante out of contract in the summer, Boehly and Co will hope Fernandez becomes the jewel in Potter's midfield for many years to come.

Enzo Fernandez made his Champions League debut earlier this season
Enzo Fernandez made his Champions League debut earlier this season

Array of arrivals

Fernandez was one of eight new signings at Chelsea last month, joining the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke and loanee Joao Felix in making the switch to the Blues.

At 23, Felix is the eldest of the January recruits, with Stamford Bridge chiefs investing in youth.

Both Fernandez and Mudryk have signed on until 2031, with the West Londoners hoping to build a new golden generation of talent for the two-time Champions League winners.

Fernandez will have a wealth of attacking weapons to supply and will hope to learn from more experienced colleagues Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Undoubtedly, Fernandez's record-breaking deal is a warning sign to Chelsea's Premier League rivals that they mean business this season, and their long-term prospects are ominous.

The man himself said: "Together, we will look to achieve everything the club wants and take it to the next level.

"Chelsea is a big club, it's a club that is always fighting for trophies and has won the Champions League in recent years.

"I will give my all and support my team-mates to make them even better."

Numbers game

Enzo Fernandez was a significant influence for Argentina at the World Cup
Enzo Fernandez was a significant influence for Argentina at the World Cup

Fernandez's performances at the World Cup suggest that he has an incredibly high ceiling.

In Qatar he averaged 1.28 shots per 90 minutes, as well as 0.96 chances created for Lionel Scaloni's men.

He also attempted a mammoth 3.52 crosses per game and 74.81 passes per 90.

Equally adept in defence and attack, he notched one goal and one assist to go alongside seven interceptions in the centre of the park.

The Buenos Aires native appears ready-made for one of the most physical leagues in the world.

Chelsea challenge

Enzo Fernandez won the World Cup on his first attempt
Enzo Fernandez won the World Cup on his first attempt

Yet the hefty price tag may weigh heavy on Fernandez's shoulders, with some already criticising Chelsea's eye-watering outlay.

Ex-Premier League striker Darren Bent said: "I’ve got no doubts he’s a good player. We saw it at the World Cup, he’s very good, but really to break the British transfer record?

"No, I think he’s a good player, but I can’t justify the fee."

But boss Potter has defended the club's decision, saying: "Every transfer is a gamble.

"If you look at the market for midfield players — and midfield players that haven’t won the World Cup — you’ll be quoted a lot of money.

"He has attributes that can help him play in any league in the world. He has already played well in the Champions League and we followed him before the World Cup, we knew about him anyway.

"We're confident about the personality. I'm very pleased, because he is a fantastic player."

Lying 10th in the league table and knocked out of both domestic cup competitions by Manchester City earlier this season, the only way is up for Potter and his new recruits.

All eyes will be on Fernandez as he seeks to embark on a glittering career in England.



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